Thursday, May 31, 2007

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Sesion #7


Read nehemiah 8

Patrick Harriston

"A Foundatin for Spiritual Revival"

For decades the walls of Jerusalme were rubble, and the people were in exile. But, now God had sent Nehemiah to restore the city, rebuild the walls, and now we come to the restoration of the people.

There is probably no other passage that sets out the foundations of true, biblical, heaven sent revival.

1. A passion for the word of god
2. Submission to the word of god
3. Transformation by the word of god

Passion for the word of God
The people gathered together and they asked Ezra to bring the law god had given. They wanted the word of god. The sense is that they directed or appointed Ezra to bring the book. We need that sort of passion in today's church.

The principle here is that true revival alwasys starts with a desire to hear the word of god. This is true throughout history. True in time of king Josaiah and in time of Luther.

Nehemiah did not coerce people to this. He did not command it. The people wanted it.

How do we account for this? The only answer is that is had to be a powerful work of God upon the hearts of his people. We naturally do not have this sort of passion for the word of God. Psalm 80:3, 7, 19 calls three times for God to turn his people to himself.

True revival stems from the work of God. That he stirs in them a yearning and desire for His word.

Remember at this time they were living in time of much improved political stability. The walls were rebuilt. Yet, there was still a sense that something was missing. They sensed that something was not right. Tells us we can have an abundance of material comfort, but unless God and word are in first place things are not right. For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

So the people went to Ezra. In doing so they went to the right person. When people want to hear the word they will look for the right man for the job. Notice they did not go to Nehemiah. Probably because Nehemiah was not the right man to do that. It was not his gift. People called for Ezra because he was best qualifited. (See Ezra 7:6, 10).

There were four outstanding characteristics of Ezra. As preachers we need these same qualities.
1. Scripturally proficient.
He was a scribe. The scriptures were his lifeblood. Teachers of God's words are to be scripturally proficient. We must be first and foremost men of the book.
2. Supernatually empowered.
The hand of the Lord was upon him. Signifies the power and enabling given to Ezra. It is possible to be skilled in scripture, but be woefully deficient in power. Power comes first and foremost from power of God in our lives. Zech. 4:6; 1 Thes. 1:5. We must seek God for his power in our preaching because on our own we are powerless. It is what makes power trembling preachers men of powerful preaching. It gives us conviction, earnestness and passion. We need the hand of God to take control of our disposition so our approach can be balanced.
3. Spiritually fervent.
Ezra was a man of deep piety. He knew God frist hand. Unless we know the God we speak about we cannot be the preachers we must be.
4. He was painstakingly dillegent.
He set his heart to study, practice and teach the word of God. Setting his hearts speaks of his enjoyment and love of the word of God. Danger of not having any enjoyment, delight of proclaiming word. Setting his heart speaks of his engagement with what he is doing. Setting his hearts speaks of his determination in what he was doing. This was oriented toward examining God's word. We would whould preach must of necessity be earnestly oriented toward the word. He also endeavored to live the word. We need to take heed to doctrine and our living it out. He also set his heart on expouding the word of God. Notice the order. It is important. First things must be done first. Some times we feel such dryness because we get caught up in professionally exegeting the text without having it work in us and see its personal application and living it out. Nothing commends the word of God as much as a life that exemplifies its truths.

The people had a passion for God's word. They were not asking for some message that was current and contemporary. They asked for the age old body of writings that were the divine word of God given to Moses. All that God wants us to know this side of eternity He has given us in the Bible. In end times people will seek after what they want to hear. There is a great push to follow contemporary trends. But, if it's new it's not true, and if it's true it's not new. We need God's book. People were devoted to the Word. They stood in the mid day sun for perhaps as much as six hours. How would that go over today? These people were not turned off by the length of sermon. The stood and delighted in it. When a people has a passon for God's word they will demand it, have a passion for it, and will delight in it. This was not a passing thing. There was a second day and they came back to Ezra that they might gain further understanding of the word of God. They read from the word daily. They delighted in the word and congregated together to hear it. Nothing more effectivly unites God's people when they find their rallying point under the word of God. Staying at home listening to tapes or televangelist is not a substitute for gathering with the people of God. There is a distinct blessing for the gathered people of God. Not only that they concentrated on the word. They were attentive. Their ears were to the book of the Lord. Minds were engaged and focused. Their focus was just right. It was more on the word than on the man of God. It was the message not the messenger they were focused on. They wanted to hear what God is saying in his word. That is how we are to gather, to hear God speaking not the man. To the extent we expect God to speak to us through the word that we will be attentive to it. And, they grasped it intellectually. This comprehension was mentioned several times. Notice the goal is not to feel good, but to understand the word of God. How different this is from what we find so often today. Think of Phillip and the Etheopian eunich--do you understand what you are reading. Understanding of the word is vital. When it is understood it will ultimatly bring joy.

Do we have the passion, the delight for God's word. There are times when we do not have a heart felt passion for the word of God. Maybe only intellectual delight without the heart being gripped by it. Is it a drugery or a delight? The call is to desire the pure milk of the word like a baby desires milk (1 Peter). Why so often do we lack this?

Many things clutter it out:
1) Worldly anxieties and cares. Need to pray God will turn our eyes away from vanity.
2) Unconfessed sins. Sin is like wax in the ears when it comes to God's word.

Basis of revival is a return a passion for the word of God. May God help us in this regard for his name sake.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #6

Sadly I missed this session entitled, "Mortification and Vivification:
The Shape of Holiness in Calvin’s Institutes" I was quite tired at supper and decided to go to my room to lie down. I closed my eyes for a while to rest them . . . when I woke up it was well into the session time, and by the time I would have gotten everything together and walked over it would have been over, so I decided to simply forego the walk, and stay in my room. I am looking forward to hearing from others how this session went. If I purchase the CDs of the conference, I may post on this later.

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #5


Jonathan Watson -- “When Disaster Strikes: Lessons from Thomas Brooks”

A disaster of historic scale. 100000's of dead in London in 1660's plague. Victims were left in houses and doors nailed shut. Nurses hired to provide for their needs, and guards posted to keep them in. All to no effect. Large numbers of people died and the disease spread. A huge exodus became of the cities population, perhaps as many as 100000. Ironically many of the medical doctors and clergy left. Poor were prohibited from leaving. People tried everything they could think of to try to stop it. By the end of July 1665 more than 1000 Londoners were dying each week.

It was in the midst of this very disaster that Thomas Brooks ministered the gospel to the people of London. He was one of the 2000 ministers of the c of e who was ejected from his pulpit because of non-conformity. He chose to remain in in his parish and proclaim gospel. He remained there when the plague came. He did not leave the sheep in the hour of their greatest danger.

What is it that allows you to stay at your post? For books it was the strong sense of his call, love of Christ for sinner, the desperate need to those dying souls around him and the strong knowledge of the sovereignty of God.

Out of this he published several books. These books written in adversity have brought and continue to bring blessing even today.

Much was written to real flesh and blood people. People who had suffered from the plague and the loses from that time. Gives a great insight into puritan pastoral theology.

Brooks clearly regarded the receivers of his letters as believers. Believers who share a common experience of suffering. Clearly Brooks and his fellow puritans saw no inconsistence in possession of real faith and experiencing suffering, sickness and even death. In all that the lord still loves them.

there is a great art in not only hearing the voice of affliction, but also in understanding its voice. The encouragement he gave was for people to look and see the hand of God in the plague. He wanted them to see the hands of providence in this disaster. He wanted them to see that all afflictions that God lays on his people are his rod. It is their highest and greatest concern to hear the rod and learn the lessons God would have them learn from them.

He develops this in various ways. In showing how afflictions are like a rod he points out how parents choose what rod they will correct with not the children. So also God chooses the rod with which he will exercise his people.

That means we should never look at the rod apart from the one who wields it. Look to Christ and his affliction. But in the hands of the father that rod was one of love. The one he loves he chastens.

Perhaps the best statement is a call to acknowledge Gods sovereignty over the rod. All of it is under his control to increase, decrees, change or whatever else.

1. God is the author of all diseases in the world and he sends and calls them off at his pleasure.

2. It is a great point of faith to believe that all diseases are limited by God in terms of times and places. Plagues were in Egypt except for Goshen.

3. It is a great point of faith to believe that all diseases are limited in terms of persons.

4. ...that all disease are limited by God in the degrees in which they will rise.

5. . . . That all diseases are limited by God in terms of their continuance.

Must see that afflictions, all afflictions are under control of the sovereign God.

Modern historians sneer at the views of puritans concerning plague as a judgment of God upon the wickedness of the nation especially the act of conformity and the pastors who suffered because of it. But for brooks the rod is more than punishment, sometimes afflictions sent for trial but in no way because of sin. An example of this would be Job. Sometimes afflictions for trial, sometimes for instruction, sometimes for wrath.

Why then does God take up rod upon his children? He gave seven reasons and not all of them are punishment. Many are for training, instruction, build good that is there, to help open understanding, and make fit for service to God. Think of 2 Corinthians 1 when the sufferings that are comforted by God we are made able to comfort others. Could not do without suffering.

So how should we respond to the rod? Three areas of response:
1. Ask, "why the rod?" seek to know what the message of the rod is. That means asking God why the rod. This is not to satisfy curiosity, but comfort conscience. Brooks gives 12 ways that are found in his works.

2. Repent if rod because of sin. Deeply judge yourselves and humble repent of the sin that brought the rod upon you.

3. Cleave and cling close to God under the rod. Draw close to God to experience the riches and glory of God. This is the response of faith.

In summary we should fear the hand that wields the rod more than the rod itself. We should fear him with a fear of reverence. God is the refuge of his people. He is with them everywhere and always. We have his presence with us.

Finally, prepare for death. Have a readiness to die. Every pain, disease, sore is a warning to people to prepare to die. We die but once, so we need to prepare for it.

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Mini-Session


Starting last year the conference has included mini sessions of 15 minutes dealing with certain topics that are important for pastors and elders to consider. This is such a session.

Mark Johnson – Call To Ministry

The importance of appreciating the call to the ministry. Ministry is not merely a job, it is a calling. We need to be reminded of that. It is not something we choose ourselves, it is something that we are called to by God.

Today in evangelicalism the concept of calling is being challenged. These new views need to be challenged especially because of their effect on those in ministry.

Reason #1 -- Our understand of calling effects those who are entering ministry. Asking a candidate if they have been induced to enter the ministry by the Holy Spirit

This can be recognized first by a shared recognition of giftedness. This is not merely recognized individually, but also by the elders of the church.

Secondly, there must be a shared process of preparation. Seminaries are not pastor factories. Seminary educations only work if done in conjunction with the church.

Third, shared recognition only comes about when a particular man is called by a particular congregation.

B appreciating what calling means understanding what the ministry is.

First, the God who calls men is the God who equips men for ministry. That means the highest accountability is to God.

Second, we will appreciate for what we are responsible. This will change how we prioritize the things we do in ministry. Only when we appreciate the responsibility of our calling that we can see clearly. Above all there is preaching and pastoring of God' people

Third, we are to appreciate the provision for ministry that God gives. He is the one who provides what is needed. Who is sufficient for these things. God's grace is sufficient for all things.

C. Historic view of calling helps us as we sustain our ministries.

First, it helps in sustaining freshness in our ministry. The fact that we are called there by God means we will keep looking to God for fresheness both for the things we preach and our own freshness.

Second, it help in term of facing the difficulties of ministry. Ministry is filed with obstacles. Knowing calling helps us face these.

Third, it helps us complete our ministry. The only thing that will keep us at our post is the knowledge that God put us there in the first place. If God led us there he did so for a reason and purpose.

Humanly speaking the work of the ministry is an impossible task. But, the one who calls us into ministry is the one of who we can say I can do all thing through him who gives me strength.

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #4


Session 4 Sinclair Ferguson -- “Our Holiness: Abiding in Christ’s Love”

John 15
Particularly verses 1-7
In center point of the teachings of the farewell discourse.
chapter 15 gives us what seems like a metaphor, but in the process it grows into a remarkable analogy of the relationship between Christ and his people.
Begin with a question, "asked last night if we would have ordered topics of holiness the way they have done here."
Especially would we have included the section in the middle with abiding in Christ, or would we not have used the theme of the conflict for sanctification. Suspects many of us would have passed abiding in Christ and went to the battle and finished with the Spirit. From and architectonic approach this would make sense, but sanctification at the end of the day is a matter of personal character. Holiness is what we become in Christ Therefore this topic of abiding in the love of Christ that is very important. It provides a very particular flavor.

We can become very tired of the statement that the heart of the Christian message is love, but the truth is that the heart of the Christian message is love. First fruit of Spirit mentioned is love. The summary of the law is love. The believer is one who abides or stays in the love of Christ

there is a false type of holiness that is a sanctification by vinegar. Where a person presents themselves as an example of sanctification which has something in it that not only repels unbelievers, but also repels weak believers.

The call is how we relate to the least of these. To the weak believers, that is a mark of our sanctification. A test of our holiness is how do we deal with the weak ones, and how we seek them out.

Abiding in Christ brings a new atmosphere to a persons life. Not like a house that is immaculate, but at the same time while it looks good it is filled with a sense of alienation. Instead it is to be homey comforting, loving.

Ch 15 verse 9 'abide in my love'
this is of the quintessence of true holiness. Love flows out of us to congregation only in so far as we abide in love of Christ.

Three headings
The love in which we abide
The union with Christ by which we abide
Characteristic marks
1. The love in which we abide
tendency to make it so ethereal that we think it cannot be described in words. But Jesus puts it into words. That is the pattern is first of all the love the Father has for the son. Love of son for the Father is rarely mentioned in John's gospel, but there are many references to the love of the Father to the son. So many examples of how the Father loves the son. From the beginning the intimacy implicit in the "pros ton theon" of the word with the Father. the Father has given all things into the sons hands (john 3:35). The Father loves the son and shows his all the things he is doing (john 5). Similar to Father teaching son his trade. Extraordinary love of Father in that he has no secret from the son, shows him what he does. John 8:32 do what Father does. John 15:9 John 17:24, 26 Or most significantly is John 10:17, for this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life.

The love 9of the Father fros the son has more than one dimension because it is and eternal bond with one another. Mutual esteem, enjoyment, and mutual admiration. given a pale reflection of the love of a man and his wife who can spend much time just with one another. Before creation creation God was being intimate, loving his son. This is beyond our imagination.

Fellowship of Gods people is an analogy of the love of God for his son. That they may be one as the Father and son our one that the world may believe. It isn't normal. It isn't natural. It is supra natural.

The Father loves his son as his son from all eternity. The Fathers love for his son is unconditional, but the Fathers love for the son as a mediator is carefully conditions. It is capable of development and growth. Jesus in john 10 says there is a moment in his life as mediator where there is a moment of climactic consummation of the Fathers love for him. That Christ would become incarnate and enter Mary's womb. But, that paled into in significants when on the cross when he cried out, "my God why have you forsaken me." that was when Father cried out 'my Jesus I love they."

Jesus loved his disciples to the end. Speaking of his atoning love. see paralleled of Philippians 2:5-11 and John 13 where Jesus took form of servant and washed feet. when he finished he took his place at the head of the table. Whom he loves he loves to the end, not to their end and their death, but to his end, that he might love them more. That is what the atonement is all about, the efficacious love of God to salvation that he might love us more.

This fullness of love in which we are to dwell is not just in what he does to atone for us, but the love that brings atonement is the stepping stone to the love of complacency or delight in those for whom the atonement was made. So he now loves us as those he has atoned for. See that here in john 15. Owen speaks of this in a four fold manner.
1 love of delight--outflowing of love in appreciation and joy 15:11. Once atoned for there is a love of Jesus that overflows in delight over believers. We can so easily lose sight of this.
2. Love of value. He was made flesh and died for his people. His saving love for us expresses his value of us. Because he has died for us,we have become valuable. Not based in our value in ourselves. We are his treasured possession.
3. The love of pity or compassion. Expressed in many ways. Here in v 18 we find the world will hate us because he love us. So at the end of the passage he speaks of how the counsellor will come
4. The love of ? Love of the abundance of grace that is ours in Christ Jesus.

How well do you understand this in what it does to the style of your holiness?

the union in which we are to abide
1. A personal union. Abide in me and I in you. That is difficult for us to expound is that there is not a perfect analogy for this. Jesus uses the vine and the branches. The union we have with Jesus Christ is a union with his person. "Pistuo eis" eisis unique to bible. indicates union of persons. Not an impersonal union, it is the very person of the son of God in us by Spirit and us in him by the Spirit. The union with Christ we have is not that we somehow or another share his grace because following him there is no such thing as grace. Grace cannot be separated from Jesus Christ There is only the lord Jesus grace is not something. All there is is Jesus himself. let us not fail to understand that Christianity is Christ So you become like him because you live most closely with him. People in congregation start to be like their pastor, and their modeling of Christ is based in his modeling of Christ even in its distortions. Key is personal union with Christ
2. Spiritual union. In sense that it is a union forged by the Spirit. The same Spirit that indwelt him and empowered him as he walked this earth. There are not more than one Spirit There is only one holy Spirit, and he is the one who indwells all believes. Verse 23, if anyone loves me then my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He will more and more work in me by the holy Spirit so that I become more and more a fitting home for Christ
3. union that is regulated by his word. If my word abides in you, Jesus said. Col 3, let the word dwell in you richly. Our love for the lord Jesus will be manifested in what we are and how we are preaching. Not experts who stand over scriptures, but people who bring out beauties of the scripture and hold it up before them. that they see that we to are constantly learning more of scripture. That we with them are below the scriptures and sit where the congregation sits. Our ministry of the word weekly is a marvelous part of our abiding in Christ
4. Union of friends. Dr. Ferguson laments the easy use of Christian names today. Not like the days when one would draw one into friendship by saying, call me by my Christian name. Now he calls his disciples friends. This is also a growing union, like union with wife grows after marriage. This will grow forever in the coming age.
5. A union the causes pain. As the things that should not be part of us are chiseled away. We feel that pain, yet we don't understand why. We are pruned by the Father to cut away everything that gets into the ways of fruit

C. The marks of those who abide
1. Universal obedience to the lord Jesus commands
2. Respondent friendship to Jesus himself--he not just makes us friends but seeks a response of friendship. To think of ourselves as his friend.
3. Love for all those for whom Jesus has died -- love one another
4. A willingness to suffer in communion with Christ Union with Christ will bring suffering
5. a constraint to witness to Jesus name. When the helper comes he will bear witness and you will bear witness. V27. Because Spirit with Christ from the beginning
6. Christ's joy will be in us and our joy will be full. What does Jesus mean by this? Both our lives give Jesus great joy and the great joy of our Saviour dwells in us.

When this is true, our ministries will be different and Jesus like.
At the end of the day there is nothing else worth living fr.

Opening -- O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #3


Session 3 Derek Thomas -- “Union with Christ: The Architectonic Principle of Holiness in Calvin’s Institutes”

-decided to keep focus on Book 3 of the institutes
-particularly the part called the golden booklet of the Christian life
-read romans 6:1-14
-the lens through which we will contemplate scriptural holiness is that of Calvin
-the quote from opening of book 3 of institutes, "we must now examine this question how do we received the benefits the father has bestowed upon his son . . . Within us."
-transition from book 2's consideration of what Christ had achieved in his finished work
-how is that work applied to us
-so we can benefit from it
-by 1559 version the ordering of institutes had moved to follow pattern of book 1 god the father book 2 god the son book 3 holy spirit
-moved section on election to book 3
-and moved section on Christian living from section on church book 4 to book 3
-Calvin was not concerned in his chapter order with following a classical ordo saludis
-starts with holy spirit
-was in a context where justification by faith was being charged with producing antinomianism
-he starts with spirit because he wanted to show how justification did not hinder sanctification
-opening title "our regeneration by faith"
-but not using regeneration the same way we do
-was born again and in his view was being regenerated
-need to keep this usage of regeneration in mind
-key to understanding Calvin's view of sanctification is union with Christ
-he means by union with Christ
-a mystical union brought about by the Holy Spirit where we are brought into a spiritual union with Christ
-but also this incorporates an important concept
-that Christ and we share in a common nature
-human body and soul
-so our participation in Christ is a participation in his body and blood
-against any gnostic tendency
-after resurrection we will share glorified physical bodies
-thus the communion that results in both spiritual and physical or incarnational
-Romans 8:29 Christ is firstborn
-he serves as older brother
-or Romans 11:17 where we have been in grafted into Christ
-so we draw from the energy or vitality of Christ
-or Galatians we have put on Christ
-so from the outset of book 3 Calvin show how union with Christ is the architectonic basis for our holiness
1. Basis of our holiness
-Christ possessed a spiritual wealth and power
-and he possessed it to enrich the poor and needy
-think of high priestly prayer of John 17
-Christ sanctified himself that his people might be sanctified
-spirit sprinkles us with the holiness of Christ and makes it ours
-not just through imputation
-but he is also our sanctification
-as a result of Christ's own sanctification
-in its perfection
-we might work out that sanctification in our own lives
-in order to answer the question of how we are saved
-Calvin would say we are saved in Christ
-our holiness is his holiness first of all
-his holiness is our holiness
-think of in Christ passages like Paul's address to Corinthians
-they were in Corinth
-they were in Christ
-living in this world is living in a world of sin
-but those indwelt by the Spirit are in Christ
-spiritual union with Christ is not to be thought of apart from the incarnational union with Christ
-our sanctification works its way our in physical even bodily terms
2. Means of sanctification is the holy spirit
-how the benefits of Christ become ours is through the work of the holy spirit
-it is the holy spirit as the one who indwelt first the incarnate Christ
-same spirit in him is the spirit in us
-holy spirit is the bond that unites us to Christ
-no one knows Christ or was more intimate with Christ or had more fellowship with Christ than the holy spirit of Christ
-where is Christ now
-in heaven at the right hand of god
-so there is a mystery in how we are brought into communion with the body of Christ
-role of holy spirit brings us into fellowship with Christ in LS
-not so much Christ comes down to us in supper
-as much as spirit bringing us up to Christ
-draws our hearts and minds to him
-language of supper, "Lift up your hearts"
-lifted to fellowship with Christ
-in bread and wine
-but in reality seated with him in heaven
-right at start of book 3 Calvin reflects on how spirit comes through death and resurrection of Christ
-reflection on order this worked out in order of history
-psalm 133
-Mt. Hermon reminds us of oil poured on priest and flows over garments
-so spirit poured out
-with blessings
-spirit grafts us into the body of Christ
3. Shape of holiness
-for Calvin Romans 6 the model or template for sanctification
-should we keep sinning to have go render even greater grace
-no. Because when we receive Christ we receive him totally
-in justification, sanctification and glorification
-cannot just take the justification and keep sinning
-it violates gospel principles
-we are those who died to sin
-medicine does not foster the disease which it destroys (Calvin)
-we are people who have died to sin
-there is a definitional quality to this
-it describes who we are
-we are baptized into his death
-death to sin
-death to claims of sin
-all claims of sin have been fully met in Christ
-so sin has no claim
-so we no longer serve sin
-our self in Adam has died in union with Christ
-so that the body of sin might be destroyed
-Calvin sees that as the mass or sin
-but probably better would be the physicality of sin in our bodies
-so that in our bodies we no longer are under sin
-this work is not completed on the day on which it starts
-but is gradually progressing
-communion with the death of Christ
communion with death of Christ
-is what energies and gives strength to the commands for sanctification
-we are people who have died to all of sins demands
-it is the union with death of Christ to sin
-and raised to life with Christ
-union with Christ's death and resurrection
-means as believers we will see and experience this death to sin and resurrection to righteousness throughout our life
-to know life
-we must experience death in some sense
-modality of holiness is reckon self dead to sin and look above to where Christ is seated
-call to imitate Christ
-with recognition that there are things that we should not imitate because they are uni1que to Christ
-imitation in sense of being moved by spirit that moved Christ
-and that is a difficult path
-as we die more and more to flesh and devil
-and live more and more to Christ

Open 'all people that on earth do dwell'
Close I greet thee who my sure redeemer art.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #2


Before the session started it was announced that next years conference is planned to be held on May 27-29, 2008. The scheduled speakers (names may be spelled incorrectly) are Rick Phillips, David Campbell and Ian Hamilton at this point.

SINCLAIR FERGUSON -- “Our Holiness: The Father’s Purpose and the Son’s Purchase”
(This talk was originally to be done by Walter Chantry, but due to health he could not do so. Dr. Ferguson graciously agreed to do these sessions using the same scripture texts and titles selected by Walt Chantry)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Titus 2:11-15 (ESV)

The homework is to reflect on the question of whether you had three addresses on Holiness would you have used these three themes? (see titles originally selected by Walt Chantry)

Two things strike us about holiness.
1=would you say my people's greatest need is my holiness?
-we come conscious of the fact that this is one of the areas of our greatest weakness
-but we know an excellent level of holiness is a requirement for ministry
-dominant emphasis that is required for Christian leaders is an excellent level of holiness
-so people can point to elders and say they are an example of what it means to be saved by the precious blood of Christ
-all men should see our progress (Paul's words to timothy)
-are all men seeing your progress in this?
-would the congregation You serve point to your progress?
-makes me wonder if they would even consider this important
-as we move to look a holiness
we need to remember that the imperatives of holiness are always grounded in the indicatives of the gospel on which they rest
-often in our preaching the indicatives are not strong enough to uphold the imperatives of holiness
-so the imperatives become a whip
-we constantly need to remember that these imperatives are so frequently grounded in the indicatives of the the trinity
-remember 1 peter early verses in ch 1
-woven into the NT exposition of what it means for us to be holy
-is that the self existent, three times holy, triune God has committed himself to bringing about the holiness of his own people
-fathers purpose
-sons purchase
-Spirit ministry(?)
-to be a gospel minister is to be caught up in the working of the triune God
-this is Gods will for you, even your sanctification
-our holiness has been planned in the eternal purpose of the father
-not explicit in Titus
-but implicit in speaking of the grace of God appearing
-referring to coming of Christ
-and behind that the fruit of divine plan/purpose
-he has chosen us that we might be holy
-col 2:12ff
-this is what we should look like as Calvinists
-if you don't have this you are not a Calvinist
-because all that is rooted in the eternal counsels of God
-Romans 8:28-29
-purpose that we be conformed to the son
-that is what holiness is
-we must understand that
-holiness is being like Jesus Christ,no more, no less
-possible to have all kinds of ability, acute understand, to be intellectually and affectionately thrilled by the doctrines of grace
-but if not holy no use
-God divine election grounds our holiness
-the only people who see election as a problem to holiness are those who don't believe in election
-God chosen people to be his
-and to be like himself
-even when touched by God's grace there are still things in me that make me slothful and lethargic
-but for Gods purpose there would be no hope
-God has seen his image fractured and distorted
-he is not content with this
-God dealing with Satan is merely a means to an end
-God wants his portrait back
-God is getting rid of the things in us that are not holy
-similar to sculptor removing all the stuff from a block of marble that isn't what the carving is
-nothing can stand in the way of what God is doing (see romans 8:28ff)
-if God is for us we know the good he has purposed to do will prevail
-he is getting everything in the entire universe that is against displaying his glory
-he is de-constructing us
-as he crafts us to be more and more like Christ Jesus
-triune God is devoted to us being conformed to the image of the son
-cause of wonder humility and worship
-that he might take me to conform me to the son
-it is all purchased by the work of the son
-but his work goes beyond this
-important to remember that holiness was purchased for us by the son
-the very essence of Christ's work so he could destroy death and sanctify (Hebrews 2)
-holiness is as much part of the purchase of Christ as any other part of salvation
-we can get so focused on the pardon purchased
-that we lose sight of fact he purchased our holiness
-there are no blessings that come to us in any other way than through his death and resurrection
-we have nothing that Christ has not purchased for us
-reason is obvious
-that Christ died according to the scriptures for our sins
-in scriptures sin is a multifaceted reality
-OT rich in its vocabulary of sin
-so we can see the many aspects of sin
-the difficult part of our sanctification is that as the Spirit works he starts to pull the weave of our life apart
-so we see how sin is interwoven in all the parts of who we are
-if we are going to be saved by his blood
-then he must through his blood deal with all these different aspects
-to deal with sin completely
-so he must through his death doing so also to bring holiness
-we need to point them to all this
-price paid not just for forgiveness but for everything that gets int he ways of their holiness
-five or six things that Jesus purchases release from sin and all its area
1. Propitiation-the redemption that answers to the wrath of God
-doesn't that just deal with justification
-yes it deals with justification
-but also our holiness
-for as long as we are under the wrath of God
-or even feel under wrath of God
-enervated from all movement to holiness
-not possible for one who feels under wrath of God cannot be motivated to holiness
-when we know we are justified
-then we know we can stand before him with the identical confidence of Christ
-because we stand with righteousness of Christ
-the propitiation so delivers me to the assurance of the righteousness that is mine in Christ that I need no longer despair or be crushed by Satan when he drives me to despair
2expiration of our defilement
-our consciences are cleansed by work of Christ
-that sins washed away
-heart washed clean
-we often miss that our sins are washed away
-but our consciences are also cleansed
-my conscience is cleansed from dead works
-and set free from condemnation that paralyzes holiness
3. Our holiness is effected at the purchase price of the blood of Christ because in shedding his blood Christ died to sin Romans 6:10
-he died to sin
-seems to be different from saying he died for sin
-purpose there in romans is to explain what it means to be baptized Christian
-believer is someone who died tor reign of sin
-not under dominion of sin
-it has no claim on us
-our death to sin is grounded in Christ's death to sin
-can't conceivable mean we died for sin in propitiatory or expiatory way
-so when he says Christ died to sin
-it means at the very least that in his death Jesus in his humanity came under the reign of sin when he died for it
-so he not only purchased pardon and reconciliation
-he also purchased in his death that freedom from the dominion of sin that makes it possible for the believes once free from sin to live for God
-in some way Jesus purchased death to sin for those who are his
two main problems are convincing those under sin that they are under sin, and convincing those dead to sin they are no longer under power of sin
4. To free us from the bondage of Satan
-some of our great Christian hymns of easter catch this theme
-that Jesus entered into enemy territory
-Hebrews 2 to destroy the one who has power of death
-apart from redemptive work of Christ men and women are lifelong slaves to fear of death
-see it in all types of non-Christian funerals
-from the dark and dower to the ones that through false joy try to ignore
-funeral of true believers funeral
still a hope and openness in Christ to what Christ has achieved
-we don’t seem to catch this
-evangelical church is best when speaking about man
-and weakest when speaking about God and the work of the holy Spirit
-we need to grasp that Christ has crashed through the gates of death in his resurrection
-we find it difficult to speak about what it means to be raised to new life
-the shear power of the resurrection is missed
-does it really make much of a difference to my life that Christ is raised
5. He purchases for us the gift of the holy Spirit
-it is as a direct result of the work of Christ on the cross that the holy Spirit comes to us
-unless Christ goes the Spirit will not come
-but if he goes he will send him
-blood and water from Christ's side
-out of him shall flow rivers of flowing water
-Spirit that river (see earlier in john)
-acts 2
-think of peters explanation of Pentecost
-meaning of this v33 is that having been exalted at the right hand of the father he has received the promise of the holy Spirit and poured it out
-Jesus is fulfilling his promise of the upper room discourse
-that he would ask the father and he would send the Spirit
-as the Spirit has been poured out
-Peter says this is what was happening in heaven
-nations as an inheritance to Christ
-so holy Spirit poured out
-son came to father and son asked that father fulfill his promise
-so same Spirit that was on Christ
-is poured out on the people of Christ
-so they can become more like Jesus
-Jesus said when he(Spirit) comes he will take from what is mine and show it to you
-we are bought with a price of blood of Christ
-so glorify God in our body
-like going into store
-and see something that you need
-call over salesperson
-ask to purchase
-as about to pay they notice a note, already purchase by someone else
-and they say, you can't buy it
-that is what it is like for believers
-already purchased
-so they can be holy
-question that haunts Sinclair
-does anybody out there who watches me that there is something here that reminds me of Jesus
-that is the most important part of ministry
-not great gifts that he blesses but great likeness to Jesus

Hymns Sung:
Opening -- Rock of ages
Closing -- O for a closer walk with God

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Introduction and Session #1


Today started with breakfast at Fay's Country Kitchen (at least I think that was the name). The food there was great, and the portions were large. If you are ever in Carlisle PA and looking for a good breakfast try Fay's.

After breakfast we headed out to Cumberland Valley Bibles and Books. That is a store I could spend hours in. They have an excellent selection of theological books and biographies. After more than an hour and a half and more that $100 is purchases, I and the two men traveling with me headed to Messiah College in Grantham. It is a fairly short trip, and although this was my first time driving it without someone who knew where they were going, we arrived without getting off course even once.

After registering and unpacking we went for lunch at Brothers, a restaurant fairly near the campus. By 2 we were back, and I took a while to rest and read. One has to do that when they purchase new books.

The first session started at 3:30PM and the speaker was Ben Short.

Ian Hamilton introduced him, and reminded all of us that the theme of the conference is “Holiness, Our Greatest Need”

We opened out time together singing “Hallelujah Praise Jehovah” a song I have not sung for many years, and upon singing it realized how much I missed it.

Here are the lyrics:
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.
Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.
Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and the widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.
You can find the tune at

Then following prayer we read Philippians 1. The text that was being considered was Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The title of the talk was, “Antidote to Discouragement”

The message opened looking at the reality of discouragement in pastoral ministry. There is much to discourage us.

First we have the society around us. It is filled with things that are manifestations of sin. Things like individualism, subjectivism, anti-authoritarian mind sets, post modernism and more.

But it is not as is the church is immune to this. It can also be seen among people of the church, and its influence felt everywhere. It effects how people hear/listen, so we often wonder do they really hear at all. We have backsliding individuals who seem to loose all hunger for word of God and whose hearts harden. Not to mention all the other things.

With discouragement comes grave dangers. If it is not faced it can lead to depression, heartless labor, professionalism, lax sermon preparation, lack of prayer, jealousness of others and even regarding the congregation one serves as an enemy.

Paul himself knew of discouragement. What we find today is not anything new because the heart of man does not change. They faced much the the same thing then. Paul faced attacks from the devil, moral failures in churches, theological failures in churches, and twisting of the gospel in churches. There was also the hatred and animosity of the world both Jews and Gentiles. He was whipped, beaten, imprisoned and more. He faced the dangers of natural events in storms, ship wrecks, and more. There were Dangers from from false brothers, weariness, hunger, cold, nakedness, and the list goes on.

Would that not overwhelm any man? We don't usually face that today, but in his life Paul faced possibility of death every day. But, he was prepared to die for Christ. Paul said, "I die daily for Christ" (1 Cor 15:31)

We see it here in Philippians. Here we find what Paul was facing, some preached Christ for good reasons but others out of animosity seeking to make things worse for Paul. This could have brought him down. But, what we find here is that it did not. Instead Paul rejoiced.

Why could Paul do this? He gives the answer. It was because Christ is preached. Christ's name is being made known in Rome, and that was what Paul cared about. He was confident that in nothing he would be shamed. Instead whatever happened, Christ would be magnified in his body. What all that tells us is that to live is Christ and to die is gain is the explanation of Paul's endurance. This was what provided what he needed to overcome the situation/circumstances he faced.

Think of Jesus words for a moment. If anyone would come after me, he must take up his cross and follow me he who lose life will save it"
-this is what lay behind Paul's words
-Christ was everything to Paul
-all his thought life was affected
-new aims,goals,heart
-when a man is confronted by Christ
-everything changes
-if we say we are Christ's and that has not changed us
-not marked us off from the world
-something is wrong
-Paul could call people to follow his example
-but there is a demand that we be examples as believers
-especially as elder sand pastors
-to live is Christ
-to deny self because of Christ
-can I say that
-could I say that to the congregation I serve
-would they believe it
-would they think it was more than pious words
-Christ is our example of this
-his food was to follow Father
-to do works of father
-speak words of father
--he was not doing his own thing
-he took up his cross
-Christ was Paul's example
-he was bondslave of Jesus Christ
-lived and breathed Christ centeredness
-what does this mean
-his burning desire was have Christ glorified in his body
-in all he does
-Christ in him kept him going
-to rejoice and endure because of Christ
-to preach the foolish gospel of Christ crucified
-focus on Christ was above all

-to live is Christ means he belongs to Christ
-so his life lived in his body
-belongs to Christ
-his response on the Damascus road was "what do you want me to do?"
-he abandoned himself to and for Christ
-always serving Christ
-suffering for Christ
-sharing in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings
-put glory in all he did and suffered for Christ
-we will be put to the test
-it is the proof of our boast in how we react to our suffering
-it is not a response of easy living
-not the ease of our family
-are we willing to forgo our advancement for Christ
-are we willing to say, whatever you want me to do I will do
-whatever I have to give up for you I will give up
-where ever you want me to go I will go
-to live is Christ means we do not belong to this world
-no longer part of its thinking, living, acting
-all parts of life included
-this should be an antidote to discouagement
-because when people speak evil of us
-to live is Christ
-when I get jealous
-to live is Christ
-when people don't listen
to live is Christ
-when church politics attack and hurt
-to live Gilchrist
-we are not doing all we do for ourselves
-but for Christ
-Paul's motive was his obsession with Christ
-Paul loved Christ
-more than just duty
-duty will wear thin
-but love is firmer and stronger than duty
-this is mutual
-we love him because he first loved us
-Christ loves you
-can you think of any reason why
-considering that
-will move us to further love him
-because he first loved us
-so we can rejoice in being worthy to suffer for his name
-doing it because you love Christ
-keep sights upon him
-let for me to live is Christ undergird and motivate all your labors
-but Paul does not stop there
-to die is gain
-seems crazy
-dying is gain!
-how can that be
-this also is a powerful antidote to discouragement
-his vision was not limited to the present
-to what he could see and feel
-looking beyond circumstances to eternity
-pressed on toward the goal
-of the upward call of God
-because that is where his life was
-to live is fruitful labor
-but to die is to be with Christ
-for a Christ obsessed man like Paul
-dying is gain
-to die is to have glory revealed in us
-what it is about this life that makes dying preferable
-what is gain for us who believe in Jesus
1-we shall see him face to face
-what we dimly see now in mirror of scripture
-will be completely clear
-we will behold him as he is
-the same Jesus who walked this earth, died on the cross facing our punishment, laid in tomb, and rose on the third day, ascended to heave
-we will see him as he is
-even not seeing him we love him
-shown him
-come to know him in the written word
-but we will see him face to face
-we will see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
-all his perfections
-mercy, justice, grace,righteousness, splendor, and all the rest
-is it any wonder that Paul said death gain
-surely that should encourage
-3-we shall be like him
-god's redemptive purpose will be fulfilled
-the purpose of the restoration of all creation
-of humanity back to complete image bearers of Christ
-JOhn17 Jesus gave glory father gave him to his followers
-we shall be like him in glory
-the radience of his glory will shine out from us
-restored in the image of god in a fuller, richer,more wonderful way than Adam ever was
-not more sin in us
4wewill be holy as he is holy
-that is the desire/command of god
-we will be what god chose us to be
-we know so little of holiness now
-we struggle with sin
-sin is so much with us
-so much a part of us
-word we speak
-actions we do
-thoughts we think
-we battle sin all the time
-but then we WILL BE HOLY
-and pure
-like Jesus
-no more unholy thoughts, desires, speech, remorse shame guilt at giving in to sin
-sin will be impossible for us
-we will have no desire to sin
-or love of sin
-we will live and breath and move to God with all our being
-to died is gain
-and glory will be revealed in us that will make all the sufferings of this life like nothing
-death is not the end
-it is the entrance into the fullness of life
' into Christlikeness
-into real life
-our failings are real
-Paul failed
-hardships are real
-Satan's attacks are reality
-there are times we are tempted to despair
-the antidote is to live in Christ
-and look to the glory that is to come
-as long as we are here we will keep laboring for Christ
-that in our bodies he might be glorified
-so keep going
do it for Christ
-not reputation
-not for advancement
-not for comfort
-but all for Christ who loved you
-that will keep you from discouragement
443 Faith of Our Fathers

Monday, May 28, 2007

Arrived In Carlisle

Today we left for the Banner at 6:30am. We had a good and uneventful trip from Exeter to Woodstock where we met up with the rest of the group we were traveling with.

By a little after 8:00AM we were on our way. Unlike last year we had no problems at the border--Oh the blessing of not having anyone who has immigration problems. Travel went well, and other than a couple of stops for breaks we went straight through to Savona where we ate at Mom's Savona Diner. This is where we traditionally stop every year to enjoy a Philly Cheese Steak. Once again the food was quite good.

Following Lunch, we continued our travel. We made very good time, and did not have to stop for gas until we were within an hour and a half from Carlisle. We could have gone further, but I didn't want to get too low on gas only to discover no gas stations are within driving distance. I was quite pleased 700+ Km on one tank of gas, and I could have went further. I guess the tune-up I gave the van this winter was well worth it as we did not get this far on a full tank last year.

We arrived at the motel in Carlisle a little before 5:30PM. Not bad travel time at all.

Tonight we are heading out for supper, but I am not sure where. Another Banner attendee who we ran into in the foyer of the motel told us we should trust him to find a good place to eat.

I wonder how Annette and Justin are doing. I particularly wonder how bed time will work as he won't be able to have his normal evening routine where he says nite, nite to his dad.

The motel has WiFi for $2.99, and I am considering getting it so I can call Annette using Skype.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

One Day Before We Leave

The time is counting down. One more day and we will be leaving for the Banner of Truth minister's Conference. I am looking forward to this a great deal. I find I am very drained spiritually, and my hope is that God will use this time to encourage me and build me up in the faith so that I can return strengthened and able to minister as I should.

If you desire to go, I believe that it would still be possible to do so. Check out the Banner of Truth page.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Six Days To Go

Six more days to the Banner of Truth Ministers Conference. I am very much looking forward to it as I feel very battered and drained in the ministry I have. If you have never went and you are a reformed pastor, and elder, or a student training for pastoral ministry, please consider going. It is a wonderful time of fellowship, mutual encouragement, and being ministered to by the preaching of the Word of God.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Submit To All Human Institutions -- 1 Peter 2:13-17

Here is the sermon preached at our evening service of Sunday May 13, 2007.

Submit To All Human Institutions -- 1 Peter 2:13-17

Friday, May 18, 2007

Helpful Advice for Men

Friday, May 11, 2007

Brakes are DONE!!!

I finally got the brakes done on my Sunrunner. I decided to give up on putting a useful fitting on the line I had bent up as I could not get the flare correct when I was practicing on some extra brake line. I decided to go and check at Napa to see if their fittings were threaded all the way to the end. Sure enough they are, so I grabbed a line there and bent it up. Thirty minutes of work or so, and the Sunrunner is working again. I still will need to bleed the brakes another time, but they work!!!

Now all that is left is getting the Mazda to run smoothly, and some work on the van (door pins, blower regulator [I only have high on the heat/AC blower], oil change). I will probably will do the van first as it is the more needed vehicle, although when I am at the Banner if we take the van, Annette will need something to drive that the car seat can go in.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Car Repairs

one of the down sides of cars and truchs is that they need constant maintainence. Lately that has been especially true for us. Our van needed a new rear door handle. Thankfully I found one on E-bay for a great price. That, however is not where things end. The front doors of the van need new pins as the current ones are wornout. The car is not running right either. I just did the plugs, cap and rotor on her, but she is running very rough so I need to fix that, not to mention that the alternator is showing signs of seizing up as well.

Lastly, the sunrunner which runs fine is still in the process of having the brakelines replaced. I got stuck at a point and have not been able to get any further. While it is great to find I can do my own work on them, it would be nice to get back to regular maintenance again.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tom Short

I don't know Tom Short, but while I was over at the Campus Preacher blog I saw a link to this video. Lately, I have been encountering more and more people who are preaching not only in the confines of a church building, but out on the street, or in this case, the campuses of this world. I have been wondering how to go about this. I have problems with the general, stereotypical street preacher that is portrayed in television, especially those news clips that I sometimes shown. You know the type who are screaming at the top of their lungs that people are going to hell. My problem is that while it is true that those outside of Christ are going to hell, that presentation is not turning people off with the gospel message, but with how it is presented. What I like about this video is that Tom Short is not one of those stereotypes. I would very much like to see a video that shows something like this from coming to the location, to actually starting to preach, and all the rest.

Check it out.

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