Archives for the month of: February, 2012

The institution of the Lord’s Supper must be regarded, by every spiritual man, as a peculiarly touching proof of the Lord’s gracious care and considerate love for His Church. From the time of its appointment until the present hour, it has been a steady, though silent, witness to a truth which the enemy, by every means in his power, has sought to corrupt and set aside, namely, that redemption is an accomplished fact to be enjoyed by the weakest believer in Jesus. Eighteen centuries have rolled away since the Lord Jesus appointed “the bread and the cup” in the Eucharist, as the significant symbols of His broken body and His blood shed for us; and notwithstanding all the heresy, all the schism, all the controversy and strife, the war of principles and prejudices which the blotted page of ecclesiastical history records, this most expressive institution has been observed by the saints of God in every age. True, the enemy has succeeded, throughout a vast section of the professing church, in wrapping it up in a shroud of dark superstition—in presenting it in such a way as actually to hide from the view of the communicant, the grand and eternal reality of which it is the memorial—in displacing Christ and His accomplished sacrifice, by a powerless ordinance—an ordinance, moreover, which by the very mode of its administration, proves its utter worthlessness and opposition to the truth. (See note to page 28.) Yet, notwithstanding Rome’s deadly error in reference to the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, it still speaks to every circumcised ear, and every spiritual mind, the same deep and precious truth—it “shows the Lord’s death till he come.” The body has been broken, the blood has been shed ONCE, no more to be repeated: and the breaking of bread is but the memorial of this emancipating truth.

With what profound interest and thankfulness, therefore, should the believer contemplate “the bread and the cup” Without a word spoken, there is the setting forth of truths at once the most precious and glorious—grace reigning—redemption finished—sin put away—everlasting righteousness brought in—the sting of death gone—eternal glory secured—”grace and glory” revealed as the free gift of God and the Lamb—the unity of the “one body,” as baptised by “one Spirit.” What a feast! it carries the soul back, in the twinkling of an eye, over a lapse of eighteen hundred years, and shows us the Master Himself, “in the same night in which he was betrayed,” sitting at the supper table, and there instituting a feast which, from that solemn moment, that memorable night, until the dawn of the morning, should lead every believing heart, at once, backward to the cross, and forward to the glory.

This feast has, ever since, by the very simplicity of its character, and, yet, the deep significance of its elements, rebuked the superstition that would deify and worship it, the profanity that would desecrate it, and the infidelity that would set it aside altogether; and, furthermore, while it has rebuked all these, it has strengthened, comforted, and refreshed the hearts of millions of God’s beloved saints. It is sweet to think of this—sweet to bear in mind, as we assemble, on the first day of the week, round the supper of the Lord—that apostles, martyrs, and saints have gathered round that feast, and found therein, according to their measure, refreshment and blessing. Schools of theology have arisen,—flourished, and disappeared—doctors and fathers have accumulated ponderous tomes of divinity—deadly heresies have darkened the atmosphere, and rent the professing church from one end to the other—superstition and fanaticism have put forth their baseless theories and extravagant notions—professing Christians have split into sects innumerable—all these things have taken place; but the Lord’s Supper has continued, amid the darkness and confusion to tell out its simple yet comprehensive tale. “As oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Cor. 11: 26) Precious feast! Thank God for the great privilege of celebrating it. And yet is it but a sign, the elements of which must, in nature’s view, be mean and contemptible. Bread broken—wine poured out—how simple faith alone can read, in the sign, the thing signified, and therefore it needs not the adventitious circumstances, which false religion has introduced, in order to add dignity, solemnity, and awe to that which derives all its value, its power, and its impressiveness from its being a memorial of an eternal fact which false religion denies.

May you and I, beloved reader, enter with more freshness and intelligence into the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, and with deeper experience into the blessedness of breaking that bread which is “the “communion of the body of Christ,” and drinking of that cup which is “the communion of the blood of Christ.”

In closing these few prefatory lines, I would just observe that this edition only differs from the former in the alteration of a sentence or two, and the addition of a few notes. I now commend this little book to the Lord’s gracious care, praying Him to make it increasingly useful to the souls of His people.

C. H. M.

CAN NOT FIND THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?

There are times in our lives that we can not seem to find the purpose of life.   These can be some of the darkest hours of our lives, and it may seem as if we are living a futile life. Many feel that their mundane existence  makes it difficult to live another day. In these times, we can find hope in God.

Simon Peter – His life and its lessons

Submitted by C H Mackintosh on Fri, 04/15/2005 – 05:00

 

Simon Peter — His life and its lessons.

C. H. Mackintosh.

Part 1

We propose, in dependence upon the Spirit’s guidance, to write a few papers on the life and ministry of the blessed servant of Christ whose name stands at the head of this paper. We shall trace him through the Gospels, through the Acts, and through the Epistles, for he appears in all the three grand divisions of the New Testament. We shall meditate upon his call, upon his conversion, his confession, his fall, his restoration; in a word, we shall glance at all the scenes and circumstances of his remarkable history, in which we shall find, if we mistake not, many valuable lessons which we may well ponder. May the Lord the Spirit be our Guide and Teacher!

For the earliest notice of Simon Peter, we must turn to the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Here we find, at the very outset, a scene full of interest and instruction. Amongst those who had been gathered by the powerful ministry of John the Baptist there were two men who heard him deliver his glowing testimony to the Lamb of God. We must quote the words: “Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God.”

There words fell with peculiar power upon the hearts of two of John’s disciples. Not that the words were specially addressed to them; at least, we are not told so. But they were words of life, freshness, and power — words welling up from the depths of a heart that had found an object in the Person of Christ. On the preceding day, John had spoken of the work of Christ. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” And again, “The same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”

But let the reader note particularly John’s testimony to the person of the Lamb of God. “John stood,” riveted, no doubt, by the object which filled the vision of his soul. “And looking upon Jesus, as He walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God.” It was this that went right to the very heart of the two disciples who stood beside him, and so affected them that they left their master to follow this new and infinitely more glorious Object that had been presented to their notice.

There is always immense moral power in the testimony that emanates from an absorbed heart. There is nothing formal, official, or mechanical, in such testimony. It is the pure fruit of heart communion; and there is nothing like it. It is not the mere statement of true things about Christ. It is the heart occupied and satisfied with Christ. It is the eye riveted, the heart fixed, the whole moral being centred and absorbed in that one commanding object that fills all Heaven with His glory.

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:2).

If Euodias and Syntyche could have walked alone, there would have been no collision – no strife. But they were called to walk together, and here was the demand for self-surrender. We are living members of a living body, each one having to do with other members, with whom we are connected by a bond which no power of earth or hell can sever. And be it ever remembered, that Christians are not members of a club, of a sect, or of an association; they are members of a body, each connected with all, and all connected, by the fact of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, with the risen and glorified Head in heaven.

There is no place in all the universe where SELF will be so pulled to pieces, as in the assembly of God. And is it not well? Is it not a powerful proof of the divine ground on which that assembly is gathered? Are we not (should we not be) glad to have our hateful self thus pulled to pieces? Shall we run away from those who do it for us? Are we not glad and do we not often pray to get rid of self? And shall we quarrel with those who are God’s instruments in answering our prayers? True, they may do the work roughly and clumsily; but no matter for that. Whoever helps me to crush and sink self does me a kind turn, however awkwardly he may do it. One thing is certain, no man can ever rob us of that which, after all, is the only thing worth having, namely, Christ. This is a precious consolation. Let self go; we shall have the more of Christ. Euodias might lay the blame on Syntyche, and Syntyche on Euodias; the apostle does not raise the question of which was right or of which was wrong, but he beseeches both to be “of the same mind in the Lord.”

Here lies the divine secret. It is self-surrender. But this must be a real thing. There is no use in talking about sinking self, while at the same time, self is fed and patted on the back. We sometimes pray with marvelous fervor to be enabled to trample self in the dust, and the very next moment, if any one seems to cross our path, self is like a porcupine with all its quills up. This will never do. God will have us real, and surely we can say, with all our weakness and folly, we want to be real, real in everything; and therefore real when we pray for the power of self-surrender. But, most assuredly, there is no place where there is more urgent demand for this lovely grace than in the bosom of the assembly of God.

 

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We shall now proceed to compare the sin-offering with the burnt-offering, in doing which we shall find the two very different aspects of Christ. But although the aspects are different, it is one and the same Christ; and hence the sacrifice in each case was “without blemish.” This is easily understood. It matters not in what aspect we contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ, He must ever be seen as the same pure, spotless, holy, perfect One. True, He did, in His abounding grace, stoop to be the Sin-bearer of His people; but it was a perfect, spotless Christ who did so. The intrinsic excellence, the unsullied purity, and the divine glory of our blessed Lord appear in the sin-offering as fully as in the burnt-offering. It matters not in what relationship He stands, what office He fills, what work He performs, what position He occupies, His personal glories shine out in all their divine effulgence.

The truth of one and the same Christ, whether in the burnt-offering or in the sin-offering, is seen not only in the fact that in each case the offering was “without blemish,” but also in “the law of the sin-offering,” where we read,

This is the law of the sin-offering: In the place where the burnt-offering is killed shall the sin-offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy (Lev. 6:25).

Both types point to one and the same great Antitype, though they present Him in such contrasted aspects of His work. In the burnt-offering, Christ is seen meeting the divine affections; in the sin-offering, He is seen meeting the depths of human need. One presents Him to us as the Accomplisher of the will of God; the other, as the Bearer of the sin of man. In the former, we are taught the preciousness of the Sacrifice; in the latter, the hatefulness of sin.

 

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C H MacIntosh        Grace Makes A Difference

 

(Excerpt from Notes on Leviticus)

Nothing can be more dishonoring to the pure grace of the gospel than the supposition that a man may belong to God while his conduct and character exhibit not the fair traces of practical holiness. “Known unto God are all His works,” no doubt; but He has given us, in His holy Word, those evidences by which we can discern those that belong to Him. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, ‘The Lord knoweth them that are His.’ And, ‘Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”‘ (2 Tim. 2:19). We have no right to suppose that an evil-doer belongs to God. The holy instincts of the divine nature are shocked by the mention of such a thing. People sometimes express much difficulty in accounting for such and such evil practices on the part of those whom they cannot help regarding in the light of Christians. The Word of God settles the matter so clearly and so authoritatively, as to leave no possible ground for any such difficulty. – “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” It is well to remember this, in this day of laxity and self-indulgence. There is a fearful amount of easy, uninfluential profession abroad, against which the genuine Christian is called upon to make a firm stand, and bear a severe testimony – a testimony resulting from the steady exhibition of “the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.” It is most deplorable to see so many going along the beaten path – the well- trodden highway of religious profession, and yet manifesting not a trace of love or holiness in their conduct. Christian reader, let us be faithful; let us rebuke, by a life of self-denial and genuine benevolence, the self-indulgence and culpable inactivity of evangelical, yet worldly, profession. May God grant unto all His true-hearted people abundant grace for these things!

“What shall we say then? Shall We continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1,2).

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The Passover And The Red Sea

Submitted by John Nelson Darby

Exodus 12-14.

We always find in the deliverances of God’s people that God is also going to punish the world. He bears testimony against it, a universal testimony, without excepting anybody. The law distinguishes men according to their acts, but the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, because they have not believed on Him whom God has sent. Hence the gospel begins with treating the world as already condemned. God has made trial, in every way, of the human heart. The gospel supposes that this probation is closed, and declares all the world lost. Souls often desire, and therefore need, to prove what their own strength is, and find they have none; even converted souls sometimes try to commend themselves thus to God. But it is to dishonour Jesus, and to deny their own condition as judged of God.

In Egypt God was content with the first-born of each house as a manifestation of His judgment. Pharaoh would not let the people of God go. When God demanded as a right that they should serve Him, the world—Pharaoh its prince—would not yield. Signs and plagues were then wrought to arrest their attention, and enforce the rights of God, but Egypt would not listen. Pharaoh was hard, then hardened, and at last becomes a monument of judgment for the instruction of all men. So it was in the days of Noah, and so it is now that the world once more is warned of the approaching judgments of God. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and on them that obey not the gospel.

Meanwhile God demands a complete submission to His revealed will. He demands that the world should submit to Jesus: all those who will not shall be forced to do so when judgment comes, and then to their own confusion and endless sorrow. God presents His Son in humiliation, in order to save the world; but without submission to Jesus all is useless, because this is what God requires and values. To believe in the Son is eternal life, is salvation; to reject the Son of God is judgment. God will have a surrender of the heart to Jesus, as Saviour and Lord, a surrender to His own grace in Him. Thus is the heart and everything else changed, and all question as to good works is set aside. All here turns on receiving or rejecting Jesus. God passes over everything. Zaccheus may speak of what he has been in the habit of doing, but that is not the point now: “This day is salvation come to this house.” If Jesus is welcomed, there is life; if Jesus is refused, there must be vengeance by-and-by for those who do not submit. How happy for the poor convicted sinner that he has not to search in himself for something to present to God! If the heart is open, Christ is the grace and glory and perfection that is needed, and the moral effects soon and surely follow.

“And I will girt thee the treasures of darkness.” Isaiah 45:3

When God made this promise to Cyrus, He was speaking of material treasures from lands of darkness that Cyrus would conquer. But we are not doing violence to the verse when we take it and apply it in a spiritual sense.

There are treasures that are discovered in the dark nights of life that are never found in days of unrelieved sunshine.

For instance, God can give songs in the darkest night (Job 35:10) that would never have been sung if life were completely devoid of trials. That is why the poet wrote:

And many a rapturous minstrel among
those sons of Light
Will say of his sweetest music “I
learned it in the night;”
And many a rolling anthem that fills
the Father’s home
Sobbed out its first rehearsal in the
shade of a darkened room.

There is the darkness of what J. Stuart Holden calls “life’s inexplicable mysteries – the calamities, the catastrophes, the sudden and unexpected experiences which have come into life, and which all our forethought has not been sufficient to ward off; and life is dark because of them – sorrow, loss, disappointment, injustice, misconception of motive, slander.” These are often the things that make life dark.

    Humanly speaking, none of us would choose this darkness, and yet its benefits are incalculable. Leslie Weatherhead wrote, “Like all men, I love and prefer the sunny uplands of experience, when health, happiness and success abound, but I have teamed far more about God and life and myself in the darkness of fear and failure than I have ever learned in the sunshine. There are such things as the treasures of darkness. The darkness, thank God, passes. But what one learns in the darkness, one possesses for ever.”

How a Church Greeting Saved One Man’s Life

 

Almost every Sunday, I encourage New Lifers to find someone they have never met and introduce themselves. It is probably the most important thing we do as a church family besides the Sacraments and the Scriptures.

A few Sundays ago, a New Lifer turned around and met a man for the first time and probably saved his life.

This man had planned to take his own life by driving off a cliff later in the day but decided to come to New Life beforehand to give God one more chance.

When the New Lifer met him at the end of the gathering, he was obviously distraught. Instead of ignoring the man’s pain, the New Lifer prayed with him and introduced him to one of our pastors who took him to an office and met with him for about 90 minutes

 

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Bible study won’t change your life.”

OK, I admit to indulging in a bit of overstatement to shock you into recognizing what should be obvious:just because you know the Bible doesn’t mean the Word will bear fruit in your life.

It is possible to know the Scriptures, read the Scriptures, revere the Scriptures, and study the Scripturesand miss the point entirely.

Take the liberal scholar who knows the Greek New Testament better than most orthodox pastors. He can quote whole sections of the Bible in its original languages. Definitions of biblical words tumble out of his mouth as he effortlessly places everything in historical context. And yet, he does not believe in the Jesus he reads about in the pages of the Bible.

 

Why Studying the Bible Won't Change Your Life          See More…..