Good afternoon brother and sisters…
Being a “list guy,” the title of a recent Grace Gem caught my eye– Nine evils which death will put an end to! And then when I saw that it was by Thomas Watson, one of my favorite Puritan writers, I was hooked. Of course, after reading the whole POST (it is actually rather short), I felt compelled to share the wealth with you, my brothers and sisters.
Nine evils which death will put an end to!
(Thomas Watson, “The Saint’s Desire to be with Christ“)
“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23
It is the desire of a true saint to be gone from this present world, “I desire to depart.” What a wicked man fears–that a godly man hopes for!
The worldling desires to live in this present world forever; he knows no other heaven but earth–and it is death to him to be turned out of his heaven. A wicked man does not go out of this world–but is dragged out!
But a soul enlivened and ennobled with a principle of grace, looks upon the world as a wilderness wherein are fiery serpents, and he desires to get out of this wilderness!
The bird desires to get out of the cage, though it is made of gold. Just so, the saints of God have looked upon themselves as imprisoned in the body, and have longed for a jail-delivery. “Oh, that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!” Psalm 55:6
It is no wonder that a true saint is so earnest to be gone from this present world–if we consider how beneficial death is to a child of God. Death puts an end to all his evils! In particular, there are nine evils which death will put an end to:
1. Death will put an end to a believer’s SINS.
2. Death will put an end to a believer’s TEMPTATIONS.
3. Death will put an end to a believer’s FEARS.
4. Death will dry up a believer’s TEARS.
5. Death will put an end to a believer’s TROUBLES.
6. Death puts an end to a believer’s CARES.
7. Death will put an end to all our NATURAL imperfections.
8. Death will put an end to the imperfections of GRACE.
9. Death will put an end to a weary PILGRIMAGE.
Though death is a bitter cup, there is sugar at the bottom!
Death is the believer’s best friend, for it brings him to Christ, which is far better!
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21
I trust you are able to echo Paul’s sentiment as expressed in Philippians 1:21.
This Lord’s Day, as we return to our exposition of 1 Peter, we encounter one of most difficult passages in all Scripture.
The verses we will be considering are the last five verses of chapter 3. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
It is the middle three verses, and particularly v. 19, that cause a good deal of head-scratching. Even the normally dogmatic Martin Luther was stymied as he sought to understand Peter’s point. He wrote, “This is a strange text and certainly a more obscure passage than any other passage in the NT. I still do not know for sure what the apostle meant.” I have spent more than a few hours this week trying to get my mind around Peter’s language. We will see what you think about my conclusions. The Order of Worship is attached.
· March 17 – Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· March 18 – Adults Fellowship Group (townies)
· March 24 – Neighborhood Fellowship
· March 25 – Ladies Group
· March 31 – Psalm/hymn sing
· April 1 – Adults Fellowship Group (townies)
· April 3 – Deacons meet
· April 7 – Fellowship Meal
· April 7 – Prayer service (immediately following Fellowship Meal)
· April 8 – Ladies Group
· April 10 – Session meets
· April 14 – Young Adults Fellowship Group
· April 15 – Adults Fellowship Group (townies)
· April 20 – Spring Feet ‘n Eat
· April 21 – Resurrection Day breakfast
· April 21 – Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· April 22 – Ladies Group
· April 27 – Spring Workday (at the building)
· April 28 – Neighborhood Fellowship
Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim. – Thomas Watson
This is a life of faith, for God will try the truth of our faith, so that the world may see that God has such servants as will depend upon His bare word. – Richard Sibbes
Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition. – Jeremiah Burroughs
So long as Jesus Christ is there, in heaven before God for us, our salvation will last. —Sinclair Ferguson
In due time the weeping intercessor will become the rejoicing winner of souls. —C.H. Spurgeon
The less said about me the better. —William Carey
Sinful human beings have no more place in the purity of heaven and the perfect holiness of God than do spiders on the rug of a five-star hotel. —R.C. Sproul
Earthly Glory Always Fades
Earthly glory always fades. I have been reminded of this over the past few weeks by the death of a couple of celebrities. No matter how beautiful the bloom, the flower will start to fade. These were people who had the world by the tail, but it is all gone now. For those who have placed their hope and confidence in the kingdom of this world, this evaporation of earthly splendor is troubling because eternity has been written on their hearts, yet they acknowledge no higher aim. READ MORE…
What Is Islam?
Whenever I teach on Islam, whether at seminary or in a church, I invariably get asked questions that begin like this: “What would a Muslim think about…?” My standard response is another question: “Which Muslim?”
Imagine someone asking a parallel question: “What would a Christian think about such-and-such?” Well, what kind of Christian? A conservative Presbyterian or Southern Baptist? A liberal Methodist? A Pentecostal? A Coptic? A member of an Acts 29 church plant in Seattle or a fundamentalist Baptist church in the Deep South? A pastor, a scholar, or a layman? An American, a Norwegian, a Ukrainian, a Syrian, a Rwandan, or a Malaysian? I’m sure you see the point. READ MORE…
Thoughts on Whether the Recent Reports on Sexual Abuse Are Attempts to Slander the Church, and 15 Consequences of Sexual Immorality
Recently I shared on my blog about The Houston Chronicle’s Report on Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse, and the Lessons for All Evangelical Churches. I want to respond to a couple of the comments I received about it.
One person wrote, “If I wanted to find dirt in any organization, I could; the press thrives on slandering the church.” Another commenter said, “So you have ask, how come all of a sudden now all these accusations. It seems like part of the Mueller investigation, anything to make Christians/conservatives look bad.” READ MORE…
Why Is It So Hard to Pray?
It’s hard to pray because humbling ourselves, getting over ourselves, and coming to the end of our stubborn and sinful selves is hard. When we pray, we die to self, and death hurts. That’s why our flesh fights so hard against prayer. When we pray, we are entering into real warfare against our flesh and against the flaming arrows of our accuser and his host. Although they are not afraid of us, they are terrified of the One within us and who is for us, and they despise that we are praying to the One who has crushed them and will destroy them.
Why Not All at Once?
Christ, by his perfect life, atoning death and resurrection from the dead, secures the believers calling, regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification. Older Protestant theologians frequently referred to the order of the application of the benefits of redemption (i.e. the ordo salutis)–as set out in Romans 8:29-30– as “the golden chain.” Though it has been a matter of no small debate in recent decades, it is right for us to say that all the saving benefits of what Christ has accomplished for us by his death and resurrection become ours “distinctly, inseparably and simultaneously” when we are united to Jesus by faith. Nevertheless, there is still a logical order by which the benefits of redemption are applied to believers. READ MORE…
All the Lonely People
We are the most technologically connected generation in history, yet perhaps one of the loneliest. Do a brief search on the topic of loneliness, and you’ll see the problems cataloged and covered from major news outlets with words and phrases such as epidemic, serious health problem, public health concern, and social fracturing of society. A recent study conducted by the health insurance company Cigna surveyed twenty thousand people and found that 54 percent of respondents said that they always or sometimes feel like no one really knows them well. And 40 percent of respondents felt like they “lacked companionship” and their “relationships aren’t meaningful.”
America is an increasingly lonely nation, and the statistics bear this out. Our face-to-face relationships continue to be on the decline, with the institution of marriage being a less popular institution today than it was in the past (today about 50 percent of adults are married, a decline from 72 percent in 1960). The average household is growing smaller as well. More than 25 percent of the population now lives alone, compared to 13 percent in 1960. We are isolating more and more, and it’s not good. Loneliness is prevalent in our culture, and it’s prevalent in our churches too. READ MORE….
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.” J. Gresham Machen
“When Christ calls a man – he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer