Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What is Dispensationalism Today?

In discussing the Sabbath with a dispensationalist brother, I've been re-reading Ryrie’s "Dispensationalism Today" with a bit more thoroughness. This has led back to the question that keeps being asked again and again, due to the lack of a definitive confessional statement of Dispensational belief, what is Dispensationalism today? What beliefs bind this group together? Ryrie suggests 3 sine qua nons in his book:

1. The distinction between Israel and the Church.
2. The use of consistently literal interpretation, which doesn’t exclude the identification of figures of speech and symbols.
3. The belief that God’s plan for this world is primarily about God’s glory, rather salvation. (Seemingly we covenant theologians don’t put God’s glory first!)

I’ve recently come across the following statement in this very interesting on-line article, which is close to what I state in my first comment (but maybe all Davis's think alike!):

"In this author's estimation, the distinction between Israel and the Church as the sine qua non of Dispensationalism lacks clarity. The sine qua non of Dispensationalism would more clearly be stated as ‘a commitment to the earthly fulfilment of the land promise to national, ethnic Israel which is uniquely the 'seed' of Abraham with reference to the future fulfilment of the covenants of promise.’ This commitment is arrived at through their understanding of grammatical-historical interpretation."

As I said, this discussion originally began in another post, but I’d like to break it out onto a dedicated post, so I’ve copied the most recent comments from the original post into the comments section of this one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Money Matters!

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:8)

I've been listening to these very good lectures on money matters from Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, NJ, as I cycle to work. How we carry out our duties in this life is vital in our glorification of God, and few areas of practical religion are more important, or least studied, than what the Bible says about money.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Beautiful Sash (Jeremiah 13:1-11)

"Thus the LORD said to me: 'Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist.'" (Jer. 13:1)

These are notes from this evening's sermon by Teddy Donnelly. Mary couldn't go tonight, so she got to type this up instead. "It was almost like being there," she said.

Reading: Jeremiah 13:1-23 (esp. 1-11)
  • Supporters of drama in worship would quote Jeremiah as providing Scriptural warrant for their practice (chapters 13, 19, 27, 28, etc.)
  • Jeremiah performs his symbolic acts by specific command from God.
  • We have no general or specific command to use symbolic acts.
  • Also note that his symbolic acts are not detached from his very detailed sermons but are rather preparatory to them.
  • A fundamental question that needs answered before interpreting the passage is whether the garment is a loin cloth worn underneath the clothing, or a sash or belt worn over the clothing.
  • Teddy thinks it is a sash or belt because it is described as beautiful. He may have other reasons.

1. The Sash Renowned

  • Jeremiah was told to get a beautiful sash and wear it.
  • It would draw attention to him and to itself.
  • He didn't want its beauty ruined with water.
  • God's people were to bring glory to God, but they didn't.
  • He gave them the land, the Temple, the priesthood, and the Davidic kingship.

2. The Sash Removed

  • Jeremiah was told to go to the Euphrates and bury the sash there.
  • The Euphrates was 350 miles from Anathoth, which was a round trip of 3 months.
  • It was to be taken away to Babylon, just as the people were to be.
  • It was to be hidden and forgotten there, just as Judah would be.
  • They would no longer have their land, their identity, or their own kings.

3. The Sash Ruined

  • The sash was buried in the hot, damp soil by the river.
  • Mildew and rot decomposed the beautiful sash and it was completely useless.
  • What is God saying? Were the people ruined in exile?
  • No, God did good to them in exile.
  • Their pride was ruined in exile (v. 9).
  • They were arguing that God was obliged to bless them regardless of their behavior because He bound them to Him by covenant. "You can't remove us!" (TJD: The covenant had curses too!)
  • No, He will remove them to another land and take away their glory. He will take away the land, the Temple, the priesthood, and the Davidic kingship.


There is a warning to the professing church

  • What dignity and honour is attached to the Church? It is glorious (Eph. 5:25).
  • The Church has more renown than the whole universe. It is the one body in the world that God has promised to dwell in and Christ has promised to build up.
  • But if a church becomes unfaithful, then God will remove her until she is completely useless.
  • Huge sections of the professing Church do not hear the gospel and deny the Bible and its morals.
  • The mainstream church has become useless and the nation no longer listens when the ecclesiastics speak.

There is a warning to the professing, nominal believer

  • Many are proud of being church goers, but do not know God, are not cleansed by the blood of Christ, and are not worshipping God daily.
  • How pathetic is the nominal believer: he is not comfortable to be completely commited to Christ; but he knows enough to be uncomfortable in the world.
  • If we don't trust completely in Christ and repent of our sins, we will be cast off, whether we are a church goer or not.

There is a warning to all men

  • "We are all immortal splendours or everlasting horrors." - C.S. Lewis
  • All men have glory and are made in the image of God.
  • What happens if we reject God? Look at what people become without God. They become worse than animals. What a tragedy!
  • Will you be utterly ruined for all eternity? What a warning this is to come to Christ.

The Bride of Christ shall be arrayed in fine linen

  • "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Rev. 19:8)
  • Christians have all been to Babylon, but we are all cleansed and we will all be glorified. Praise God!

Racing with Horses (Jeremiah 12:5)

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jer. 12:5 NIV)

These are notes from today's sermon by Edward "Teddy" Donnelly at Trinity RPCI. My children are now at such an age that I can start writing notes again. Mary and I put this on together to help us assimilate what we heard at church. (Teddy entitled this "The Rejection of God's Messenger", but I thought the above was more apt.)

Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-12:6, esp. 12:5
  • The message of the men of Anathoth to Jeremiah was, "Shut up, or die!"
  • Anathoth was 3 miles from Jerusalem, where most of the priests and Levites lived, so these were clergymen threatening death!
  • Jeremiah did the right thing and brought all his troubles and anxieties to God.
  • 12:1,2 has resonances with Psalm 73: "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?"
  • He is open and honest with God; he hides nothing back. This should encourage us to come to God with the same attitude. It isn't wrong to pour out your grief to God.
  • But why was God so hard with Jeremiah in his reply? (See the verse at the top. Teddy prefers the NIV/ESV translation to the AV/NKJV for this verse. The thicket speaks about the danger of lions lurking in the thicket by the river.)

1. A Warning about Future Things

  • The apostasy of the people is going to get worse.
  • The violent armies of the north will come, and kill and enslave the people.
  • Is God saying to us, "You think things are bad? They're going to get worse."
  • "You think it is hard to witness now, do you think it will be easier in the future?"
  • "You think life is hard now, but some of you will face bereavement, terrible illness and the weakness of old age."
  • Be prepared! Be brave and strong! Be men! (Or women!)
  • God is an honest father who loves us enough to tell us the truth.
  • If you are not trusting in Christ now, what will the future bring for you? It is too terrible to contemplate. Face up to reality and prepare for the judgment to come.

2. A Challenge to Greater Tasks

  • God wants him to be a brave hero in the face of great challenges.
  • Jeremiah is being challenged to move up a gear.
  • "I love you too much and value you too much to let you give up now!"
  • "I have greater work for you to do."
  • The sports teacher will not put a whole lot of effort into someone with no ability. He will make an athlete with potential work harder and set him higher standards to meet. This may seem harse, but he wants him to be all he can be.
  • If we are not faithful in a few things, are we going to be entrusted with greater things? (Matt. 25:14-30)
  • If you can't manage your household, who will entrust you with leadership in the Church? (1 Tim. 3:4,5)
  • Do you want your life to matter and leave a mark in history?
  • Let us look at our trials as God preparing us for greater things.

3. An Encouragement to Deeper Trust

  • Can we compete with horses? Of course not!
  • Jeremiah couldn't compete with horses on his own, but God was with him.
  • For over 40 years, he ran with horses and went safely through the thickets of the Jordan.
  • He was forced to go to the one who could cope.
  • We can't cope with what life is going to bring to us on our own.
  • We can survive these things and get through them, but we won't do so in the beautiful way that glorifies God.
  • Paul quoted these words, when he was an old man imprisoned in chains: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might he increases strength." (Isa. 40:29)
New RPCI Psalter: Psalms 1A; 103:1-5 ; 73A:1-4,11-18 ; 119 Part 4A

(See also the previous post "Judgment and the Neglect of God".)

Break-up Your Fallow Ground! (Jeremiah 4:3,4)

"Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your hearts." (Jer. 4:3,4)

The following are notes from last Sabbath evening's sermon by Edward "Teddy" Donnelly at Trinity RPCI.

Reading: Jeremiah 3:1-4:4

This passage sees Judah in grave danger of judgment and needing to escape. We may not be under such judgment, but do you want to be as fully consecrated as you should?

1. The Context of a Gracious Invitation

  • There is a call to repentance: "return to me"
  • God calls us to turn from our sin to Him.
  • How gracious for God to receive us back when we have turned from Him: Judah did not just turn to one man, but she had many lovers.
  • He encourages us with the promise of many blessings.

2. A Caution against a Subtle Danger

  • "Do not sow among thorns."
  • Josiah's refomation was external and top-down. The people's hearts weren't changed.
  • It is a waste to sow on hard, thorny ground.
  • Religion was only a veneer.
  • It is right to want to see society changed, but what is more important and lasting is that people's hearts are changed to turn to God.
  • Unless they are changed good laws will do little lasting good.
  • On an individual basis, it is useless to make a commitment to external things, if our hearts are untouched.
  • We need our fundamental attitude changed.

3. The Challenge to Radical Change

  • Fallow ground will not receive seed.
  • We need to utterly remove the old man (we need our hearts circumcised).
  • We need to be totally open to God's Word.
  • We need to remove all impediments to communion with God.
    • Besetting sins
    • Bad reactions
    • Bad attitudes
    • Irresponsibility
    • Are we too absorbed with other things?
    • Are there gifts from God that we have been neglecting?
  • Breaking-up fallow ground isn't easy
  • Judah didn't break-up its fallow ground and judgment came.
  • Are there thorns and hardness of heart stopping fruit growing in our lives?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Culver Reading Group

The learned Dr. Gribben (a.k.a. J.N. Darby or Archbishop Ussher, given his mood) has started an on-line reading group to study Robert Culver's "Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical" which was recently published by CFP. This can be purchased at 25% off at the Evangelical Bookshop in Belfast. Crawford is using "The Culverites" blog for the discussion due to the international nature of the group. I can now also reveal that Dr Culver and his son, who is also a theologian, but at Erskine, the ARP seminary, intends to be a participant.

Culver is historic pre-mill and Baptist (but Calvinist, of course), which is different to me, but I think it will be profitable despite, and indeed because of, the differences. I have read some of Culver already, and I like his writing style and his attitude.

See here to sign-up to the on-line group.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Calvinist Revival amongst American Baptist Youth

Interesting article here. What about these for quotes?

"Three avenues appear to play significant roles in the introduction of Baptist collegians to Calvinism. These three 'gateways' are campus ministries, contemporary Christian music, and popular authors and speakers...

"Campus ministries that are either explicitly or implicitly Calvinist in orientation are increasingly popular on many Baptist college campuses. The two most visible of these ministries are both Presbyterian in origin: Reformed University Fellowship and Campus Outreach...

[C]ontemporary Christian music (CCM)... Among collegians and other young adults, many of the most popular recording artists/acts are Calvinist in their theology and worldview...

Reformed pastors and theologians are popular among collegians... These include Presbyterians such as R. C. Sproul and the late Francis Schaeffer, Anglicans such as J. I. Packer and Gerald Bray, and Baptists such as Donald Whitney, John MacArthur, and John Piper. Of these pastors and theologians, Piper apparently is the most influential among Baptist college students."

We rejoice with our brethren and hope that this restoration of historic and Biblical Baptist belief continues.

P.S. This is a mainly Southern Baptist (SBC) phenomenon; hence the logo at the top.


A friend of mine from work, who is a 38 year-old father of three young kids, has come down with a serious tumour that is putting pressure on a major blood vessel to his heart. I'm glad to say that the doctors are hopeful about treating it as it is a germ-based tumour. They don't know as yet whether it is cancerous or not as they have decided to start a 12-week course of chemo immediately, rather than do a biopsy.

Please remember Graeme, whose wife is a believer, in your prayers.

This has made me look into my understanding of cancer again. What is cancer?

Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these cells to invade other tissues, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis.

Metastasis is the spread of cancer from its primary site to other places in the body. Cancer cells can break away from a primary tumour, penetrate into lymphatic and blood vessels, circulate through the bloodstream, and grow in a distant focus (metastasize) in normal tissues elsewhere in the body. These secondary growths are what we commonly term "secondaries".

Malignant tumours are cancerous. Benign tumours do not invade neighboring tissues and do not seed metastases, but may locally grow to great size. They usually do not return after surgical removal. Still, some tumours with benign histology can behave as malignant tumours, for example in brain tumours, where treatment has to be as aggressive as with malignant disease.

More info can be found here:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Why I Prefer the NKJV

I've been asked about my preference for the NKJV, so I thought I'd put the answer in an actual post. Here are my reasons for preferring the NKJV:

1. I believe that the Traditional Text (a.k.a. the Byzantine textual stream, close, but not quite the same as the Textus Receptus) is the family of texts that God has providentially preserved to be handed-down from generation to generation. I find the arguments for the superiority of the Alexandrian text-type unconvincing, and therefore why should I reject what has been handed-down? Only the AV and NKJV use this as their underlying NT text, however the advantage of the NKJV is that it also gives the alternative textual readings, such as the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text, which tries to basically capture the statistical majority reading for any variant.

2. I believe in accurate translation that tries as much as possible to communicate the text in the words that the Spirit has given, rather than dumping important words like 'propitiation' because we aren't used to it in modern language. Therefore I don't use the NIV as my primary translation. (The NIV is nonetheless one of the better translations and beats my favorites at times.)

3. I believe in using good, modern vocabulary and good, modern sentence structure that isn't awkward. Therefore I don't use the AV as my primary translation.

4. I don't believe in proliferating versions ad infinitum, esp. if it isn't adding any value in my opinion. Was the ESV necessary, when the NASV already existed? I long for the days when one version was used everywhere. The words of Scripture would be more deeply embedded in our minds.

5. I believe that it is wrong to unite with unbelievers in translating the Bible (or any other unequal yoking). Therefore I don't trust the RSV, esp. when a Rabbi translates Isaiah 7:14 as the following: "Therefore The Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman [as opposed to virgin] shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

My order of preference is thus as follows:

3. ESV

All of the above are substantially good translations.

Let's not even mention the Good News Bible, the New Century Version, the Message or the Living Bible. Please don't fill me with thoughts of despair!

I wouldn't be without a Thompson Chain Reference either!

See these previous posts.

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Old Father Puritan

My wife and kids gave me a Father's Day card that was just too good, it had to be shared (although it is a little hyperbolic!). Note that my wife replaced Father Christmas with a little Puritan teaching the Bible (because of the hat). We don't lie about Santa Claus to our children.

Click on the photo to see a bigger version.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Daily Light

Daily Light is a Christian classic that has morning and evening readings for every day of the year, with a few on special topics at the end. Each reading consists purely of a collection of verses from the Bible which are all related to a certain theme.

My mum reads this every day, morning and evening, and she told me that her father and mother read it too. I started off with an NIV version and then got myself an NKJV version. I gave Mary a copy on our honeymoon night. We both find it exceedingly good for our souls. If only we were more consistent in reading it! I am determined to consistently integrate this into my devotions. May God give me grace!

Why read Daily Light? It keeps us in touch with the key verses of the Bible and the central truths of the faith on a daily basis. It is devotional in the highest sense and distills the pure Word of God. Read it! Few things could be more profitable for your soul!

Why not sample it? Here are today's readings from the ESV version.

Here is the book's history from the information about the ESV version:

"As a child Samuel Bagster learned the precepts and practices of a devoted Christian, which sustained him throughout his life and which, in turn, he passed on to his children. This highly principled and religiously minded bookshop owner gathered his large family together daily for reading God's Word, testing their knowledge by connecting the day's verses with other passages, and praying over how it could be applied. It was from this practice of worship that the Bagster family compiled the material for Daily Light on the Daily Path [which he first published in 1794 - TJD].

"It is said that this daily devotional book is the most popular of all time. It has touched hundreds of thousands of Christians to the remotest corners of the world with the biblical message of comfort and help... [T]his work is timeless because each reading is a connlection of Scripture verses centered around a theme."

There is also the original KJV version and the a NASB version is on-line.

P.S. The NKJV version is presented as coming from Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham's daughter, but all she did was write the foreword and add a couple of pages to the topics section at the end. It really annoys me! Typical commercialisation!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006


Okay, another tradition common to all Presbyterian churches, sadly: committeeism. At times we have replaced the sort of debate that the Council of Elders in Jerusalem had in Acts 15 with committees. This is absolutely antithetical to Biblical Presbyterianism.

We have also replaced presbytery-level and synod-level diaconates with committees. I believe that the first diaconate in Acts 6 was at the presbytery level, based on the traditional arguments that Jerusalem had more than one congregation. At least there seems to be a revival of the congregational diaconate, which is something to be thankful for.

Oh yeah, and then there's the way that in some other Presbyterian denominations (PCA and Free Church), committees have stopped petitions and complaints getting to presbyterial courts.

(For some reason, the independents that have raised the Independency vs. Presbyterianism question with me kept going on about committeeism as being the reason Presbyterianism is wrong. I'm waiting for the day that an independent will actual try to present a Biblical argument. Why do I have to go to the Puritans for this, and why are independents so pragmatic in their arguments? Of course, I tell them, "That's a corruption of Presbyterianism, not real Presbyterianism.")

Applying God's Word More Directly to Ourselves

Is your application of God's Word too general, or are you taking the care to primarily apply each passage you read to your own heart, life and sins? I know that I can too frequently lapse into the former.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can Women be Deacons?

Yes and no. It depends what you mean by the term. The office of deacon is seen by some as an equivalent to the Biblical office of ruling elder (e.g. many Baptist congregations), and by others as merely someone who offers a temporal service to the Church in an official capacity, e.g. a caring ministry. If it were the latter, then there wouldn't be a problem with women being deacons, but the Biblical office of deacon is something different and something which most modern evangelicals don'’t even think of: a role of oversight over others who carry out temporal ministries, e.g. caring for the old and sick.

1. We are told in Acts 6:1-5 that the office of deacon was an office "over this business" of distributing food to the widows, which later expanded into other temporal ministries. This is an office of oversight exercised by men, and early Church history (which needs to be used to understand some of these vageries and corroborate our interpretations of different words) shows that it was indeed an office of temporal oversight exercised by men, with others (typically widows, hence 1 Tim. 3:11) exercising the caring ministry under them.

2. When the office was instituted in Acts 6:1-5, all seven deacons were men; not one was a woman.

3. The qualifications for the office in 1 Tim. 3:8-12 are addressed to men. Women are seen as distinct from the deacons ("their" is not in the original, by the way), so clearly the deacons are something other than women - presumably men? They are "the husbands of one wife [who rule] their children and their own houses well".

4. What about Phoebe in Romans 16:1? The office of deacon should not be confused with the Greek word 'διακονος' (diakonos). Phoebe is a 'διακονοςs' at the Church in Cenchrae. This word means a servant, typically one who serves at tables. It is used in that sense throughout the NT, often translated as 'minister' or 'ministry'. It refers also to the specific office of deacon.

Given that the office is referred to as a male one, which 'διακονος' is Phoebe? A deacon, or a servant? It must be a servant. The translation 'deacon' is misleading. All the best translations translate it as 'servant'.

On a positive note, women can and should be active in temporal ministries under the oversight of deacons.

(For more information see this article by Brian Schwertley and also an opposing one by Christian Adjemian. Both of these are well worth reading. I guess I fall between these two opinions.)

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Davey Whitla on MP3

Mary was sick today and I had to stay home from church to look after her. I went onto for something to include in our worship and found a sermon by David Whitla amongst all the sermons by the excellent Gordon Keddie (buy his books!) in the Southside (Indianapolis) RPCNA section.

The sermon was on Christ's restoration of Peter, and Mary and I were greatly profited by it. We couldn't find any faults in it. (More astute minds may differ!) It was very well-executed (well-structured, clear communication, faithful and accurate exegesis, good application, very pastoral) and spiritually edifying.

For those who know David, or others who don't, here is the link:
Christ, The Restorer of His People (John 21:15-19) by David Whitla

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Righteous Lying?

The BBC have published an article about "Tell the Truth" Day. Is it ever acceptable to lie in accordance with God's will? I've been having a discussion with a brother on another blog about whether it is acceptable to lie to protect the life of someone who another person is trying to murder.

Here is an interesting article on the subject and here is another one.

Anybody got any deep and meaningful thoughts on the subject?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cremation: Is it Biblical?

“For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting and trumpet sound. And I will cut off the judge from its midst, and slay all its princes with him,” says the LORD. (Amos 2:1-3)

It is my firm belief that cremation is not according to the will of God, but rather He wills that we use burial to dispose of the bodies of the dead:

1. Burial is the standard method of disposing of dead bodies throughout the Bible in example after example, either in the ground or in a burial chamber.

2. Cremation is only used to dispose of bodies to deliberately disgrace them,* e.g. in the case of Achan and after capital punishment in several cases in the Mosaic Law, or it is explicitly stated as contrary to the will of God. (See articles below for details.)

3. The will of God is often not stated in explicit statutes, but rather through the godly example of the saints’ practice. Therefore, it is sufficiently clear that it is God’s will that we bury bodies.

4. God’s people buried their dead, but pagans burned them. This practice was widespread in Greek and Roman society, but the early Christians took great care to only bury their dead, leading eventually to the virtual eradication of cremation.

5. Cremation, as a modern practice, was only resurrected in the late 19th century amongst liberals, agnostics and atheists who rejected the resurrection of the body, and who sought wisdom in pagan classical and eastern thought.

6. Cremation is therefore not only unbiblical, but also without support from the history of the Church.

7. Ultimately, man as a whole is made in the image of God. His body is part of that image and should be treated with dignity, not burned as we would rubbish. God has willed that the dignity of the body is retained through burial. It was a deep shame that the bones of the King of Edom should be burned; such a disgrace indeed, that God pronounced it as the great cause of Moab’s terrible punishment.

We may know, love and respect someone who has been cremated, or we may fear condemning others because it is a sensitive and emotional subject, but this should not stop us from obeying the clear teaching of the Bible and the universal testimony of the saints prior to the end of the 19th Century.

The following are useful discourses on the subject:

"Cremation or Burial?" on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library
“Why Cremation Is Unscriptural” by Paul P. Maher
“Is Cremation a Christian Option?” by Jeff Black of Providence RPCUS in Wytheville, VA (formerly of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA)

* Except in the case of Saul, who may not have been cremated (see Mahler), esp. as the bones were still solid enough to bury. However, if he was cremated, he is the only example of cremation that was not done to shame the body. He was not a godly man and his associates may have been the same.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jeremiah: Judgment and the Neglect of God

"And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, 'What do you see?' And I said, 'I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.'" (Jeremiah 1:13)

Today Teddy (my pastor, Edward Donnelly) started a series on Jeremiah. I also happen to be reading Jeremiah in the morning. (Ryle on Matthew has moved to the evening.)

Teddy examined the Judah of Jeremiah's day and the West of today. Sexual immorality, the murder of children, the godlessness of government and multi-faith religion in the established church were rife, and so they are today. Surely we have a boiling cauldron sitting above us. We are ripe for judgment. May we earnestly beg God to turn away His hand of judgment from us! Let us remember Moses who earnestly beseeched God on behalf of rebellious Israel.

Judgment, wrath, sin and Hell are neglected words in the modern Church. "Love, love, love" is all we hear. And what about ourselves? Are we as serious and direct as we should be in presenting the great danger that besets our family, friends and work colleagues? Are we too concerned with being liked, to the eternal destruction of those nearest us?

Teddy especially looked at the neglect of God as the root of all these evils. Take the modern Westerner. When he rises out of bed, does he think of God? When he eats his food does he give thanks? Does he stop to think of God and worship him? He is too content with his full belly.

"The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4)

What about ourselves? He is always thinking of us: "Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to you in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." (Psa. 40:5) Are we thinking as much of Him as we should, or are we too much taken up with other things like Martha?

"Mary... sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving... 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" (Luke 10:39-42)

God sent His only begotten Son to bear the wrath and curse of our sin on the Cross. He died that we might have eternal life, and what is eternal life? "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) This is why Christ died! Not that we should just have nice family and church lives, but that we should know Him.

Are we really taking the effort to know Him as we should, or is our religion so much theology without the fellowship with God which is the point of theology: the knowledge of God. What is our prayer life like? Are we really engaging with God in our Bible study, not just the facts?

"He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." (2 Cor. 5:15)

The God of Good Things

"Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart." (Psalm 73:1)

My kids and I have just finished having some savoury pancakes for lunch. They were really good (even though I say so myself - all glory be to God!). It was so satisfying to enjoy good food and see my children enjoy the same. Elizabeth sitting in her high chair, calling out, "Pangake! Pangake! Mowr! Mowr!" The boys eating some pancake and disappearing out to the sandpit to play, then returning again for more. (Mary had her low carb diet because of her PCOS illness, but she had a bite and her eyes lit up!)

God gives us so many good things! How blessed it is to be in God's family and adopted as a son! He provides us with all that we need. How blessed it is to be at peace with Him and able to recognise His goodness toward us! To be filled with joy and able to give thanks.

Thank God we don't dwell in darkness, alienated from Him! May God give us grace to share the Good News of reconciliation with Him with those who are doomed to eternal separation from the blessedness of His presence.

Are we grateful children, showing our love through devotion and obedience, or are we like greedy children, rejoicing in our toys, but ignoring fellowship with our Father?