Daily Devotional – Repentance and Rest

What Does Isaiah 30:15 Mean?

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

Most bibles have a heading for Chapter 30  that reads something like “Warning; danger if y’all head on over to Egypt”.  Without trying to sound to offensive (we would of done the same things) when we read about the nation of Israel in the Old Testament they seem rather dumb. I mean how many times does God have to tell them follow me and I will provide?

Yet they like us want to depend upon things of the world, here the power and wealth of Egypt to sustain them, instead of the promises of God.  Of course that comes with consequences v.12-13. How much more so to us today who have God’s complete Word before us and are truly without excuse?


BREAKDOWN:

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; –  There can be no doubt who is speaking, Isaiah makes it clear this message is not from His but from God Almighty Himself. 

In returning and rest  – As noted above I think the NASB and others really get the translation right; In repentance,  this is what God demands of a rebellious person or nation. Not mere returning to Him with church attendance and lip service but true repentance.

shall ye be saved; – I want to make clear here this is not talking about eternal salvation as some have thought. One (a lost Lamb of God) cannot return to the fold having lost their salvation only their fellowship. Here specifically God through Isaiah is speaking of the turmoils of life. Rest and salvation, I think of Psalm 62:1-6 knowing God is my “safe place.”

in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: –  When we return to true fellowship with the Triune God; while in quite submission to His will all the cares and concerns of the World that drove us away in the first place seem to quietly disappear.  

and ye would not. – Sadly like the nation of Ancient Israel,  far to many of us know these truths and do them not. 


APPLICATION: 

I have yet to meet anyone in my life time that has said to me I prefer chaos and turmoil over peace and tranquility. Yet many live their lives in such a manner that one would think that is exactly what they prefer. 

Like ancient Israel God has put before us a choice of sorts, thought the work of His Holy Spirit¹ men’s hearts are touched in a manner that should be undeniable.  Yet that is exactly what man does just like Israel he refuses to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit and continues to live in chaos instead of Repentance and Rest. 


¹ See our 14 part series beginning here: Daily Devotional – The Holy Spirit Part I

Thanks once again to LP Jr., for suggesting this Verse. 

Book of Life

R.C. Sproul Quote: “When God writes our names in the 'Lamb's Book ...

What the late Dr. R.C. Sproul was referring to is sometimes argued over in Evangelical circles. That is can a redeemed person lose their eternal salvation. I am going to leave that discussion for another day (suffice it to say no) and move on to the topic at hand “The Book of Life” or “Lambs Book of Life.”

There are a number of verses found in the bible regarding this topic here is the list found in the AMPLIFIED BIBLE , the one that I have decided to concentrate on isMalachi – Calvary Baptist Church

Malachi 3:16-18 

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. 17 “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (NLT) 

Entonces los que temían a Jehová hablaron cada uno a su compañero; y Jehová escuchó y oyó, y fue escrito libro de memoria delante de él para los que temen a Jehová, y para los que piensan en su nombre. 17 Y serán para mí especial tesoro, ha dicho Jehová de los ejércitos, en el día en que yo actúe; y los perdonaré, como el hombre que perdona a su hijo que le sirve. 18 Entonces os volveréis, y discerniréis la diferencia entre el justo y el malo, entre el que sirve a Dios y el que no le sirve. (RVR 1960) 


CONTEXT: 

Malachi means “My Messenger” in Hebrew in chapter three v.1-6 he delivers the message the nation of Israel has been asking for. That is God will send the promised Messiah and He will be foretold by a messenger. 

In v.7-12 Malachi delivers his final message to the nation of Israel from God, admonishing them for their disobedience and transgressions.   

Verses 13-18 contain two parts one is the very clear distinction between the Righteous and the Wicked. The Second contained in v.16-18 declares God’s promise of Mercy for His chosen people. 

Let us break it down:

v.16

those who feared the Lord spoke with each other – keep in mind that God had just reprimanded them and now they have repented, saw the error of their ways. What do they do the conversed among themselves to encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, (1 Thess 5:11)

and the Lord listened to what they said – Wow, what an amazing phrase, what a promise, God listens to those who fear (revere) Him. 

a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name – There is a two part theological implication here, one to be written in the Book of Life (remembrance) one must first fear or highly revere God and secondly we must do it for life. This is not a once and done deal from our side of the street.  You can not decide today I will Love and fear God but tomorrow I won’t and have any expectation f eternal life. 

v.17

They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – I love this, God is the Commander in Chief of the greatest Army EVER and for those who repent, fear and honor His name for life He will call you His people. Hallelujah!

“On the day when I act in judgment, – Watch out judgement, what judgement I thought when I said that little old prayer I was good to go. Think again, 2 Corinthians 5:10 (AMP) says: For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the [a]judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or [b]bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities]. 

they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. – The Good News is God promises no eternal damnation to those whom He has called His own. That does not excuse God’s children from redeeming their time on earth wisely.

v.18

Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” – I am not sure there is a better concise commentary on this verse than that of Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary Then shall ye … discern—Then shall ye see the falseness of your calumny against God’s government (Mal 3:15), that the “proud” and wicked prosper. Do not judge before the time till My work is complete. It is in part to test your disposition to trust in God in spite of perplexing appearances, and in order to make your service less mercenary, that the present blended state is allowed; but at last all (“ye,” both godly and ungodly) shall see the eternal difference there really is “between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not” (Ps 58:11).

CONCLUSION: 

As 2 Cor 5:10 points out we will be judged by our works and one of the best works I can think of is to offer prayers of praise by every true believer for being in the Book of Life. Another is to offer prayers of supplication for all our unsaved family, friends, co-workers to join them. God has promised Eternal Life to those that Fear and Honor His name forever; He also promises eternal damnation for those who reject His offer of Grace and Mercy. I pray you are counted among them in the Book. 

 

“What does the Bible say about pandemic diseases/sicknesses?”

Question: “What does the Bible say about pandemic diseases/sicknesses?”

Answer: Various outbreaks of pandemic diseases, such as Ebola or the coronavirus, have prompted many to ask why God allows—or even causes—pandemic diseases and whether such illnesses are a sign of the end times. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, describes numerous occasions when God brought plagues and diseases on His people and on His enemies “to make you see my power” (Exodus 9:14, 16). He used plagues on Egypt to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites from bondage, while sparing His people from being affected by them (Exodus 12:13; 15:26), thus indicating His sovereign control over diseases and other afflictions.

God also warned His people of the consequences of disobedience, including plagues (Leviticus 26:21, 25). On two occasions, God destroyed 14,700 people and 24,000 people for various acts of disobedience (Numbers 16:49 and 25:9). After giving the Mosaic Law, God commanded the people to obey it or suffer many evils, including something that sounds like Ebola: “The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation . . . which will plague you until you perish” (Deuteronomy 28:22). These are just a few examples of many plagues and diseases God caused.

It’s sometimes hard to imagine our loving and merciful God displaying such wrath and anger toward His people. But God’s punishments always have the goal of repentance and restoration. In 2 Chronicles 7:13–14, God said to Solomon, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Here we see God using disaster to draw His people to Himself, to bring about repentance and the desire to come to Him as children to their heavenly Father.

In the New Testament, Jesus healed “every disease and every sickness,” as well as plagues in the areas He visited (Matthew 9:35; 10:1; Mark 3:10). Just as God chose to use plagues and disease to show His power to the Israelites, Jesus healed as an exhibition of the same power to verify that He was truly the Son of God. He gave the same healing power to the disciples to verify their ministry (Luke 9:1). God still allows sickness for His own purposes, but sometimes disease, even worldwide pandemics, are simply the result of living in a fallen world. There is no way to determine whether or not a pandemic has a specific spiritual cause, but we do know that God has sovereign control over all things (Romans 11:36) and will work all things together for the good of those who know and love Him (Romans 8:28).

The spread of sicknesses such as Ebola and the coronavirus is a foretaste of pandemics that will be part of the end times. Jesus referred to future plagues associated with the last days (Luke 21:11). The two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have power “to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want” (Revelation 11:6). Seven angels will wield seven plagues in a series of final, severe judgments described in Revelation 16.

The appearance of pandemic diseases may or may not be tied to God’s specific judgment of sin. It could also simply be the result of living in a fallen world. Since no one knows the time of Jesus’ return, we must be careful about saying global pandemics are proof that we are living in the end times. For those who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, disease should be a reminder that life on this earth is tenuous and can be lost at any moment. As bad as pandemics are, hell will be worse. The Christian, however, has the assurance of salvation and the hope of eternity because of the blood of Christ shed on the cross for us (Isaiah 53:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28).

Sunday’s Sermon Series

Image result for Hosea 14:5-9"

Hosea 14:5-9

I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily;

he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;

 6  his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive,

and his fragrance like Lebanon.

 7  They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;

they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine;

their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

 8  O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?

It is I who answer and look after you.

I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.

 9  Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;

whoever is discerning, let him know them;

for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them,

but transgressors stumble in them. (ESV) 

Yo seré a Israel como rocío; él florecerá como lirio, y extenderá sus raíces como el Líbano.

Se extenderán sus ramas, y será su gloria como la del olivo, y perfumará como el Líbano.

Volverán y se sentarán bajo su sombra; serán vivificados como trigo, y florecerán como la vid; su olor será como de vino del Líbano.

Efraín dirá: ¿Qué más tendré ya con los ídolos? Yo lo oiré, y miraré; yo seré a él como la haya verde; de mí será hallado tu fruto.

¿Quién es sabio para que entienda esto, y prudente para que lo sepa? Porque los caminos de Jehová son rectos, y los justos andarán por ellos; mas los rebeldes caerán en ellos. (RVR 1960)

This morning one of my devotionals had verse 9b as a reading for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them, as I thought about the meaning of this, I came to the conclusion I have reached many times before when reading scripture; God’s ways are always righteous and correct only those living out God’s ways in their daily lives are upright (righteous) in God’s eyes. Those who are opposed to God those living in and loving the ways of the world stumble over (find the ways of God) a stumbling block to their lifestyle. – Mike


I found this series by Joel Beeke on Backsliding that I hope you will enjoy: 

Runners Recovering by Grace

(1) Reviving grace; (2) Sovereign grace; (3) Applied grace. 

Text Hosea 14:5-9 –  Sermon #4 in Series

Others in Series: 

Recognizing Injured Runners Text Hosea 11:7a Sermon #1 in Series 

Runners Returning by Faith Text Hosea 14:1-3 Sermon #2 in Series 

Runners Receiving God’s Medicines Text Hosea 14:4 Sermon #3 in Series 

Runners Enduring in the Race Text Hebrews 12:1-2 Sermon #5 in Series 

Biblical Contentment, Part II

Image result for "Restore the Joy of Your Salvation"

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)

Restitúyeme el gozo de tu salvación,
y sostenme con un espíritu de poder[a](LBLA)

Yesterday we looked at what Biblical Contentment was, the facts that most Americans are not content, the biblical reasons for this and the fact that all true Christians should be content. 

One of the other things pointed out yesterday was the fact that not all “Christians” are content. So today I thought we would take a quick look at how as a Christian to renew that contentment in us. 

Let us look at out main text for today: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, do you remember the unbridled enthusiasm you felt as a new young believer? The was a joy a happiness that is really indescribable to the outside world. Our sin burden has been lift away and we for the first time in our lives feel free. 

I have seen this many time in the confines of a prison when a truly (there are lots of fakers and shakers out there) repents and declares Christ as Lord and Savior he is really set free. The walls, barbed wire, guards all mean nothing they are just part of the background noise as it were for he is now living for Christ. He is perfectly biblically content where he is because  Christ is uphold{ing} me {him} with a willing spirit.

That my friends is the key getting back to basics. Sounds simple, well it is, Christianity is simple, One God, One Savior, One Surrender All, One Salvation, it’s humanity that complicates it. 

Let us as always look at some context here. Psalm 51 is (although some modern scholars try to deny it) a Psalm of David. Most bibles have some heading like (ESV)  “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”  David had sinned and was very convicted of that sin (the mark of a believer) so he writes this Psalm crying out to God for forgiveness and renewal. A note before I move on To the choirmaster” may seem insignificant but it is not. It tells us this was a public declaration of the Psalm not something David kept just between him and God.

I will skip the first 9 verses where David declares his sinful ways and get to verses 10-11: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right[b] spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  David was not content with what he had so he went after something more than was rightfully his. David understood that the only way to change his sinful ways, to be content again was to renew the right (righteous) spirit in him. He is telling God I need to get back to basics please help me.

Here are the 7 things the Bible teaches us are key basics for everyday Christian life: 

Prayer: Proverbs 16:3 

Study: Psalm 119:11

Fellowship: Hebrews 10:25

Stewardship: 1 Peter 4:10

Worship: 1 Chronicles 16:29

Sharing: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Walking: 1 John 2:6

Starting Monday we will take a closer look at each. 

 

 

 

 

Does Baptism Save You?

Another in the Frequently Abused Verses Series 

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. Of our previous blog series, none better embodies that emphasis than Frequently Abused VersesThe following entry from that series originally appeared on August 15, 2016.. -ed. (For other articles in this series just type Frequently Abused Verses into the search bar on the right). 

Jeremiah Johnson / Friday, August 2, 2019

Faith and repentance are not easy. Submission contradicts the natural disposition of the human heart. And the transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is often uncomfortable and difficult.

Salvation would be so much more inviting and enticing to our human understanding if it didn’t require humility, repentance, and the transformation of your entire being. Why can’t it simply be the product of a one-time activity?

For those looking to bypass the difficulty and discomfort of salvation, 1 Peter 3:21 seemingly provides a shortcut in the form of this simple declaration: “Baptism now saves you.” This and a select few other verses are often used to promote “baptismal regeneration”–the view that teaches that one is saved (regenerated) though water baptism.

However, not all proponents of baptismal regeneration see baptism as a shortcut to salvation or a quick fix to the problem of sin. Many view it as a necessary element—in addition to repentance and faith—that completes the work of salvation. And as a proof text, they point to Peter’s words in Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (emphasis added).

So what should we make of that—was Peter the first proponent of baptismal regeneration? And moreover, does that mean that no one is truly saved until they’ve been baptized?

To find the answers to those questions, we need to consider what it meant to become a Christian and make a public declaration of your faith in the earliest days of the church. In his commentary on Acts, John MacArthur sheds some light on the issue:

It is difficult for modern readers to grasp the magnitude of the change facing Peter’s Jewish hearers. They were part of a unique community, with a rich cultural and religious history. Despite long years of subjugation to Rome, they were fiercely nationalistic. The nation had rejected Jesus as a blasphemer and executed Him. Now Peter calls on them to turn their back on all that and embrace Jesus as their Messiah.

By calling on each of them to “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” Peter does not allow for any “secret disciples” (cf. Matthew 10:32-33). Baptism would mark a public break with Judaism and identification with Jesus Christ. Such a drastic public act would help weed out any conversions which were not genuine. In sharp contrast to many modern gospel presentations, Peter made accepting Christ difficult, not easy. By so doing, he followed the example of our Lord Himself (Luke 14:26-3318:18-27). Baptism was always “in the name of Jesus Christ.” That was the crucial identification, and the cost was high for such a confession. [1]

Baptism doesn’t accomplish or seal your salvation; it’s a public declaration of the work the Lord has already accomplished within. So the whole premise of baptismal regeneration defies the meaning and purpose of baptism. Not only that, the immediate context of Peter’s exhortation eliminates the possibility of anyone successfully using Acts 2:38 as an argument for baptismal regeneration. As John MacArthur explains,

[Baptismal regeneration] ignores the immediate context of the passage. As already noted, baptism would be a dramatic step for Peter’s hearers. By publicly identifying themselves as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, they risked becoming outcasts in their society (cf. John 9:22). Peter calls upon them to prove the genuineness of their repentance by submitting to public baptism. In much the same way, our Lord called upon the rich young ruler to prove the genuineness of his repentance by parting with his wealth (Luke 18:18-27). Surely, however, no one would argue from the latter passage that giving away one’s possessions is necessary for salvation. Salvation is not a matter of either water or economics. True repentance, however, will inevitably manifest itself in total submission to the Lord’s will. [2]

Moreover, the idea of baptismal regeneration represents a significant contradiction to other passages of Scripture that clearly teach salvation by faith alone. In Acts 16:31, Paul and Silas tell their jailer how he can be saved, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” In Galatians 2:16, Paul unmistakably denies salvation by works with these words:

Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (cf. Romans 3:28)

Even Christ Himself—in perhaps His most famous quote—denied the need for works to accomplish salvation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In fact, the need for baptism would contradict the entirety of Christ’s ministry. As John MacArthur puts it, “After condemning the ritualistic religion of the scribes and Pharisees, our Lord would hardly have instituted one of His own.” [3]

John MacArthur describes another reason Peter’s words cannot be read as an endorsement of baptismal regeneration:

This interpretation is not true to the facts of Scripture. Throughout the book of Acts, forgiveness is linked to repentance, not baptism (cf. Acts 3:195:3126:20). In addition, the Bible records that some who were baptized were not saved (Acts 8:1321-23), while some were saved with no mention of their being baptized (Luke 7:37-50Matthew 9:2Luke 18:13-14). The story of the conversion of Cornelius and his friends very clearly shows the relationship of baptism to salvation. It was only after they were saved, as shown by their receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46), that they were baptized (Acts 10:47-48). Indeed, it was because they had received the Spirit (and hence were saved) that Peter ordered them to be baptized (v. 47). That passage clearly shows that baptism follows salvation; it does not cause it. [4]

So why do Peter’s words in Acts 2:38 read as an endorsement of baptismal regeneration? The confusion likely stems from the way the Greek preposition eis is translated. While it is often translated “for the purpose of,” it can also mean “because of”—that’s clearly the sense it conveys in Matthew 12:41, as Jesus described how the people of Ninevah repented after hearing Jonah’s preaching. That’s the sense we ought to see in Acts 2:38—Peter exhorted the people to be baptized because of the forgiveness of their sins.

As John MacArthur explains, that understanding is in keeping with the pattern presented throughout Scripture.

The order is clear. Repentance is for forgiveness. Baptism follows that forgiveness; it does not cause it (cf. Acts 8:1234-3910:34-4816:31-33). It is the public sign or symbol of what has taken place on the inside. It is an important step of obedience for all believers, and should closely follow conversion. In fact, in the early church it was inseparable from salvation, so that Paul referred to salvation as being related to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). [5]

With that in mind, how do we make sense of the simple declaration we began with: “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21)?

As so often is the case in this series on Frequently Abused Verses, context is key. While those four words might seem to say one thing, a look at Peter’s complete statement makes his point abundantly clear.

When the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:20-21)

As John MacArthur explains in his commentary on 1 Peter, it’s illegitimate to use Peter’s words to make a case for salvation through water baptism, because that’s not even the kind of baptism Peter has in mind here.

“Baptism” (from baptizō) simply means “to immerse,” and not just in water. Peter here uses baptism to refer to a figurative immersion into Christ as the ark of safety that will sail over the holocaust of judgment on the wicked. Noah and his family were immersed not just in water, but in the world under divine judgment. All the while they were protected by being in the ark. God preserved them in the midst of His judgment, which is what he also does for all those who trust in Christ. God’s final judgment will bring fire and fury on the world, destroying the entire universe (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-12); but the people of God will be protected and taken into the eternal new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:13).

Peter made clear that he did not want readers to think he was referring to water baptism when he specifically said “not the removal of dirt from the flesh” (1 Peter 3:21). That he was actually referring to a spiritual reality when he wrote “baptism now saves” is also clear from the phrase, “an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (v. 21). The only baptism that saves people is dry—the spiritual one into the death as well as the resurrection of Christ—of those who appeal to God to place them into the spiritual ark of salvation safety (cf. Romans 10:9-10).

Just as the Flood immersed all people in the judgment of God, yet some passed through safely, so also his final judgment will involve everyone, but those who are in Christ will pass through securely. The experience of Noah’s family in the Flood is also analogous to the experience of everyone who receives salvation. Just as they died to their previous world when they entered the ark and subsequently experienced a resurrection of sorts when they exited the ark to a new post-Flood world, so all Christians die to their old world when they enter the body of Christ (Romans 7:4-6Galatians 2:19-20Ephesians 4:20-24). They subsequently enjoy newness of life that culminates one day with the resurrection to eternal life. . . .

Therefore, God provides salvation because a sinner, by faith, is immersed into Christ’s death and resurrection and becomes His own through that spiritual union. Salvation does not occur by means of any rite, including water baptism. [6]

There are no shortcuts or religious rituals that can achieve salvation—in fact, it’s not a product of human works at all. As Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This Sunday: A Call2Fall for God’s People

June 25, 2019 – Tuesday / By FRC’s National Prayer Director, Pierre Bynum

As of the end of Calendar Year 2017 the Gallup group put out information from a survey stating the following:

Protestants continue to make up the largest religious group in Americatotaling 49% of U.S. adults interviewed as part of Gallup’s Daily tracking in 2017. Catholics are the next-largest group, at 23% of the population, with Mormons accounting for about 2%. This means that about three-quarters of Americans, overall, identify with a Christian faith.

With an estimated population of 326,971,407 can you imagine if just 10% of these folks participated! 32 and a half million people crying out to God, glory!

Samuel Huntington: Signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of Congress, judge and Governor of Connecticut – March 9, 1791

It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A Call2Fall for God’s People

Amid the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called all Americans to a day of prayer, fasting, and “humili[ty].” The Prophet Joel, called Judah, the Southern Kingdom of a divided Israel, to a Solemn Assembly, saying: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” Joel 2:12-13. We need such times of prayer and repentance in America today — we have strayed so far from God and his ways.

As we all know, America’s problems and divisions are not political at their root — but spiritual. They can be resolved only when God’s people choose to honor God, believe, and obey Him.

The Call2Fall is a reminder of the Biblical Solemn Assembly, prolonged seasons of prayer, repentance, fasting and returning to God. It is a powerful token that God has honored by His presence in churches and homes, again and again. Amid our personal, cultural and national sins, it is a reminder of the kind of prayer we need every day. It is not a fancy program or a big show. It is a time for churches to set aside time during their Sunday services, for all the people who can, to bow their knees before the Lord in humility and unite in repentant prayer for our nation. God’s people have the answer. The Call2Fall Declaration, taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14, reads:

I will answer God’s call to fall on my knees in humility and seek His face in repentance so that He might forgive my sins and heal our land.

If your pastor has not planned a Call2Fall in your church, its not too late. Give him a call or send him a note pointing towww.Call2Fall.com.” Urge him to watch Tony Perkins’ short video (for the congregation) and Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s short video “for pastors only. Though the hour is late, your pastor and church can still join thousands of pastors and churches across America to observe the 11th Annual Call2Fall this Sunday, June 30th. If the church schedule simply cannot be adjusted, you can still network with believers across the land by taking time to humble yourself and pray — on your knees by yourself at home — or with your family, or friends. Given the great moral and spiritual need of our nation, let’s humble ourselves before the Lord, together, before we break out the picnic gear and fireworks, and like our Forefathers, acknowledge our dependence upon Almighty God, before we celebrate our Independence on the 4th of July!

From the website:

“The Call2Fall national prayer initiative is based on Scripture, from which we envision three essentials necessary for God’s blessing: a proper attitude, a prayerful action, and a promise-based anticipation.”

A Proper Attitude: Humility and Dependence Upon God

Why we do things is of great concern to God. God looks upon our hearts. We believe God requires genuine humility in His people before He intervenes on our behalf.  The foundational Scripture for the Call2Fall is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments upon the word “humble” (kana) in this text:

It denotes bringing a proud and recalcitrant people or spirit into subjection…Of the eighteen references to a spiritual submission, fifteen relate to the actions of a king in submitting himself and his nation to God (1 Kings 21:29, etc.). The emphasis is upon a proud and independent spirit abasing itself.  Two key references are in Lev. 26:41 and II Chron. 7:14 which indicate that so long as a person, or nation, is arrogant and self-sufficient, God can do nothing for them.

The Call2Fall must begin with an attitude of humility before God, a willing acknowledgment of our need for God’s mercy and grace.  If we remain self-sufficient in our attitudes, we cannot expect God to give us the help we so desperately need.

A Prayerful Action: Kneeling Together Before the Lord

The Call to Fall is a call for God’s people to publicly, corporately manifest humble, dependent hearts by bending our knees before Almighty God on July 3, 2016.   In Scripture, bending the knee is an act of humility, reverence and submission.  Some of God’s greatest leaders demonstrated their deep humility by bending their knees in prayer before Almighty God.

Abraham: Then Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him… (Gen. 17:3)

Moses: Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. (Exod. 34:8)

Solomon:  Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread out his hands (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven). (2 Chron. 6:12-13)

The Psalmist:  Oh come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

Elijah: And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; then he bowed down to the ground, and put his face between his knees. (1 Kings 18:42)

Ezra: At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. (Ezra 9:5)

Daniel:  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home.  And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem , he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

Peter: They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break…When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”   (Luke 5:6, 8)

Paul: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 3:14)  “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayer with them all. (Acts 20:36)

A Promised-Based Anticipation: God will Answer

We believe that God Himself is the originator of the Call2Fall.  If we will do our part, we can surely anticipate that He will do His.  In fact, Scripture is filled with promises for those who humble themselves before the Lord:

[T]hen I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” (2 Chron. 7:14-15)

Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions…And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. (Ezra 8:21, 31b)

For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. (Psalm 18:27)

The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. (Psalm 25:9)

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)

Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. (Prov. 3:34)

But on this one thing I will look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2c)

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice.  Seek righteousness, seek humility.  It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)

What is God Saying to Us?

Here is an excellent Biblical article on the Hurricanes.

| September 6, 2017 @ The Founders Blog

Irma and Harvey may go down as the Bonnie and Clyde of tropical hurricanes. My extended family in Texas suffered great loss from the former (though all of their lives were spared, by God’s grace), and now my immediate and church family in Florida are preparing for the onslaught of the latter, which as I type is a Category 5 and headed straight toward us. So both storms have occupied many of my thoughts the last two weeks.

Understandably, people are trying to make sense of these devastating natural disasters. “What is God saying to us?” is the question of the hour. Many of the responses are less than satisfying.

Continued at Source: What is God Saying to Us?

 

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 24 January

p-day-byREPENTANCE

…Repentance from dead works … – Hebrews 6:1

 … Repentance unto life.  – Acts 11:18

 … Repentance toward God…  –  Acts 20-21

 Repentance that fair and happy daughter of an ugly and odious mother – John Trapp

 You cannot repent to soon, because you do not know how soon it will be too late. – Thomas Fuller

 Though repentance be an act of man,  it is a gift of God. – William Secker

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

** Note for a daily devotional this year check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God”

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part IV

Conversion

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

1 Thessalonians1:8-9

    In 1980 I went forward to an alter call after listening to the pleas of a preacher telling me of the horrors of Hell. I was smart enough to understand that Hell was a place I wanted no part of. If, my going forward and saying some small prayer was all it took to avoid it I was all for that.

    Sound familiar to anyone? It should, in the intervening years I have met hundreds of if not thousands who say, “Yeah that’s how I got saved”. Really because I am here to tell you I was not saved that day. The only thing I accomplished was appeasing my conscience for the next 16 years while I ran amuck in direct defiance of God.

    I am not saying this is true for everyone. No I am just pointing out that going forward at an alter call and praying a prayer is not what converts you. It is God and His Grace working through the conviction of the Holy Spirit that brings about a true conversion. My experience in 1980 was all about me, “I” made the decision because “I” did not like the sounds of hell. Hear anything missing from that process? How about God?

    So far we have spoken about the first three steps in the Order of Salvation. They are: 1) Election, we are chosen of God 2) Effectual Calling; God’s call is always effective 3) Regeneration or Rebirth, where God changes our heart from that of desiring evil to desiring Him. Today we will look at Conversion.

    In its simplest terms Conversion means turning from one thing to another. In context of the scripture above the Apostle Paul says Biblical Conversion is turning to God from idols to serve the living and true God. Biblical conversion demands a change. That change is brought about by a two-step process, repentance and faith. It is only after we have been given a new heart (regenerated) that we are capable of and desire to respond by acknowledging our sins, confessing them before God and trusting in Christ and Lord and Savior.

Tim Challies, whose Visual Theology we have been using as our outline says of Conversion: We willingly respond to the Gospel call, repenting of sin and placing faith in Christ for Salvation.

    As noted this part of the Ordo Salutis involves two key components; repentance and faith. While two completely separate ideas repentance and faith are inseparably linked in the process of Salvation. Both must be preached so much so in fact John Calvin stated one could not call men to Christ by separating them.

Repentance

John Murray said: The question has been discussed: which is prior, faith or repentance? It is an unnecessary question and the insistence that one is prior to the other is futile. There is no priority. The faith that is unto salvation is a penitent faith and the repentance that is unto life is a believing repentance…It is impossible to disentangle faith and repentance. Saving faith is permeated with repentance and repentance is permeated with faith (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), p. 113).

The Westminster Confession emphasizes the importance of preaching repentance as well as faith: Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ. By it a sinner, out of sight and sense, not only of danger, but also of filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XV, Sections I and II. Cited in A.A. Hodge, The Confession of Faith (Edinburgh: Banner, 1958), p. 210).

Smith’s Bible Dictionary defines Repentance in this manner:

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance.

(1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of

(1) a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness;

(2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ;

(3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and

(4) a persistent endeavor after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

    I like the definition by William Webster I found online: Repentance means turning from sin. It does not mean a mere acknowledgment of sin or remorse, but a turning from it with a purpose to forsake it altogether.

    In closing out this section I would like to quote from William S. Plumer D.D. (Theology for the People or Biblical Doctrine Plainly Stated, Chap XX Section III):

True Repentance is not a transient (or short-lived) act of the mind nor a temporary emotion. (as my alter call experience was) It is a glorious habit of the soul. It implies a fixed principle in the renewed mind. It is the hypocrite and self-deceiver who repent and sin, sin and repent. Genuine repentance produces a permanent change in men’s characters.

In Section IV Plumer states: Two kinds of repentance are often spoken of, legal and evangelical. In legal repentance the motives are chiefly drawn from the law and the consequences of sin (again my alter call experience). In evangelical repentance they are drawn from the gospel and the nature if sin. The latter would turn from sin, if there were no hell; the former would sin on, if there was no fear of wrath. The goodness of God leads the latter to repentance; but the former despises the riches of His goodness and forbearance (or mercy) and long-suffering. Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

    No evidence of change equals no genuine repentance. Salvation demands genuine repentance. When it is genuine it is always the work of the Holy Spirit not of man and always results in true saving faith.

    So what is “Faith”? I think Martian Luther’s excerpt from “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” Luther’s German Bible of 1522 gives us excellent insight:

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this `faith,’ either.

Instead, faith is God’s work in us that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.

    If I ask you where the bible defines faith most every believer will quote Hebrews 11:1. But I believe the definition begins back Chapter 10 verse 38:

38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

    Can you see the connection? The first word in Hebrews 11 is “Now” it is a conjunction, same as But, Moreover, Furthermore, etc. It requires us to connect the preceding verse(s) to what we are reading now. So what is saving faith? It is the foundation (substance) of our belief (hope) the proof (evidence) that God is real. It is so sure a foundation that those who have it can never lose (fall back) into eternal damnation (perdition).

    The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) was composed in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, at the request of Elector Frederick III, who ruled the province of the Palatinate from 1559 to 1576. The new catechism was intended as a tool for teaching young people, a guide for preaching in the provincial churches, and a form of confessional unity among the several Protestant factions in the Palatinate. It is still appropriate today for those same purposes.

Q & A 21

What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a sure knowledge by which I hold as true all that God has revealed to us in Scripture; 1it is also a wholehearted trust,2 which the Holy Spirit creates in me3 by the gospel,4 that God has freely granted, not only to others but to me also,5 forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and salvation.6 These are gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merit.7

1 John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19

2 Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16

3 Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14

4 Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21

5 Gal. 2:20

6 Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10

7 Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10

Q & A 22

What then must a Christian believe? A. All that is promised us in the gospel, 1a summary of which is taught us in the articles of our universal and undisputed Christian faith.

1 Matt. 28:18-20; John 20:30-31

Probably the most often quoted New Testament verse referring to repentance is 2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

    But the most prolific references are found in the book of Acts. I have listed a few below.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted , that your sins may be blotted out , when the times ofrefreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me

Going back to our initial text we read:

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

1 Thessalonians1:8-9

I would like to close with this thought. Verse 9 as we saw defines conversion but I would be remiss if I failed to point out what Paul notes in verse 8. Just as conversion demands repentance and faith to be complete. The completed act of conversion demands action on the part of those converted. Paul says you sounded out the word of the Lord that is you shared the Gospel of Christ. Not just in a few places but in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad, that is, everywhere you go.

Next week we will look at part V Justification. Until then may God greatly bless you and yours.

In HIS Service