Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Christ in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22 v 42)
Running the race (Hebrews 12 v 1)
Trusting in the Lord (Ruth 2 v 12)
A selection of psalms that were sung at the meetings is also available: Psalm 146 v 7-10 (Orlington), Psalm 19 v 7-13 (Andrew) and Psalm 22 v 23-27 (Ayrshire).
The latest online sermon by the Rev. Aaron Lewis is The doctrine of God and the Holy Trinity (2).
Thursday, September 25, 2008
God willing, the first Autumn Preaching meeting at Crosslanes Chapel will be held at 6pm on Saturday 1st November, at the church.
The preacher will be the Rev. William Macleod, minister of Thornwood (Glasgow) Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).
Refreshments will follow the service.
Rev. Macleod will also preach on the Sabbath (2nd November) at 11am and 6pm.
Edit: the sermon The doctrine of God and the Holy Trinity (1) preached by Rev. Aaron Lewis is now online.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
My dear friends, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most joyful message that has ever been heard in this world, the good news from the far country of heaven is like none other. Now many will agree that the gospel is to be preached to all men, however some will then disagree with what is called the ‘free offer of the gospel’. These men do not believe that Jesus Christ is to be freely offered to the sinner in the gospel. I myself wholeheartedly and unreservedly believe in the free offer of the gospel. Consider for a moment again those words of the angel. “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people". Now if Christ be not freely offered to the sinner as one who is willing and able to save them, how can the gospel be a message of great joy for them personally? The sinner needs to be persuaded that it is a joyful message for them, therefore Christ must be freely and sincerely offered to them.
Ebenezer Erskine was born in Dryland, Scotland, in 1680. In his life he battled hard for, and also passionately wrote on the free Offer of the Gospel. Below is a helpful extract from; ‘The beauties of Ebenezer Erskine’, concerning arguments to urge sinners to Embrace Christ. May the gospel minister, like Ebenezer Erskine, be unashamed of the free offer of the gospel, and urge sinners to embrace Christ in the gospel.
1. Consider the absolute need ye have of this Christ whom we offer unto you. Without Him ye are condemned already; without Him ye are without God in the world; God is angry with you every day; the law and justice of God, like the avenger of blood, is pursuing you. And therefore, O sinners, flee to a Saviour, “Turn ye to your strong-hold, ye prisoners of hope”, Zechariah 9:12.2.
2. Consider the matchless excellency of that Saviour whom we call you to embrace. Angels and men are at an everlasting stand to speak of His worth and glory; He is best known by His own or His Father's testimony concerning Him: and if ye would know the record of God concerning Him, search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Him; it is in this glass that “we behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”, John 1:14. I despair that ever a sinner will embrace Christ, till there be an up-taking of His personal excellency, as Immanuel God-man. There is a seeing of the Son, which, in order of nature, although not in order of time, goes before the soul's believing in Him, John 6:40.3.
3. Consider the ability and sufficiency of this Saviour whom we call you to embrace. Take the Father's testimony of His ability, Psalm 89:20, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty”. Take His own testimony, Isaiah 63:1, “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save”. Take the Spirit's testimony, in the mouth of the apostle Paul, Hebrews 7:25, declaring Him “able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him”. Thus ye have the three that bear record in Heaven, attesting the sufficiency of the Saviour. O then, “set to your seal, that God is true, by believing the record that God gives of His Son”, John 3:33; for if ye do not, your unbelief gives the lie unto a whole Trinity, 1 John 5:10,11.4.
4. Consider that this sufficient Saviour is “the sent of God”. This is a designation given to Christ thirty or forty times in the gospel according to John, and the ordinary argument with which Christ persuades sinners to embrace and receive Him. And nothing could have greater influence than this designation, if the weight of it were but duly weighed. O consider in what quality and capacity His Father hath sent Him: shall not God's Ambassador-extraordinary get a hearing among a company of condemned rebels? He is sent as a Redeemer to liberate captives; and shall not captives embrace Him? He is sent as a Surety; and will not bankrupts embrace a cautioner? He is sent as Physician; and will not the wounded and diseased sinner embrace Him, and His healing balm?
5. Consider, that His heart and arms are open and ready to embrace all that are willing to be embraced by Him. O may the soul say, fain will I embrace Him, but I doubt of His willingness to embrace me. I tell you good news, He is more willing to embrace you by far than you are to be embraced by Him. He says He is willing, and you may believe His word, for He is “the Amen, the faithful and true witness”, Revelation 3:14, and He says, that He will cast out none that come unto Him: He swears He is willing, and will ye not believe His oath? Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live”. Pray tell me, why did He engage from eternity, and voluntarily give His hand to the Father in the council of peace, saying, “Lo, I come; - I delight to do Thy will, O My God?” Why did He assume the nature of man, and the sinless infirmities thereof? Why did He, as the great Law-giver, subject Himself unto His own law? Why did He that is the Lord of life and glory, submit to the stroke of death ignominiously upon a cross? Why doth He send out His ministers to you, with call upon call? Why doth He wait all the day long, saying, “Behold Me, behold Me?” Why doth He expostulate the matter with you? Why is He grieved at the obstinacy of your hearts, if He be not willing that ye should embrace Him? For the Lord's sake therefore consider these things, and do not reject the counsel of God against yourselves. Ye have a full, free, and unhampered offer of Him in the external call of the gospel; and this directed to every one of you without exception, Isaiah 55:1-3, Revelation 22:17, Mark 16:15 and Proverbs 8:4.
Sirs we offer a Christ to you, and the whole fullness of grace and glory, merit and Spirit, that is in Him, as the free gift of God, without the money and price of your own good works and qualifications; if ye bring any such price, to make a purchase of the pearl of great price, ye shall lose Him for ever: God loves to give His Christ freely, but He scorns to receive anything for Him. Let this then be your warrant, that Christ is gifted and offered of God in this gospel: and let it be remembered that in the matter of a gift, there is no difference between man and man; the poorest as well as the richest, may receive a gift presented unto him: a condemned malefactor has as a good a right to receive a gift presented unto Him by the king, as the greatest favourite in the court; his being a guilty criminal is no prejudice at all to his receiving a gift; yea, his being so, qualifies him for receiving the pardon. So here Christ's being the gift of God freely offered and presented, warrants the sinner to receive Him, without respect to any qualifications but that of his being a sinner. Hunger is the best disposing qualification for meat, nakedness fits a man for clothing, etc. And that Christ seeks no other qualifications is evident from His counsel to Laodicea, Revelation 3:17,18, “Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see”.
Besides the command of God, ye have a promise of welcome to encourage you in believing, John 6:37, “Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out”. John 3:16, “Whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. But, say ye, these promises may be to others, and not to me. I answer, The promise is indorsed to you, directed to you, in the external call and dispensation of the gospel, Acts 2:39. There the apostle is preaching to a company of men, whose hands had lately been dipped in the blood of the Son of God. He calls them to faith and repentance. By what arguement does he enforce the exhortation? Why, he tells them, “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call”. Where it is plain, the promise is extended, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, who at that time were afar off; and then indefinitely, both to Jew and Gentile, to whom the call of the gospel should reach; the external call which is only here intended, howsoever, the Spirit of the Lord did internally concur, being the alone foundation upon which the promise is to be received, and not the internal call of one person, which can never be a warrant of believing to another. And therefore, as the apostle said to them, so say I to you, in the name of God, “the promise is unto you”, I mean, the promise of welcome: “Whosoever of you believeth, shall not perish” This promise in not made to believers exclusively of others, but to everyone that hears this gospel; for if so, we could call none to believe but such as have believed, which is most absurd.
Well then, let God's promise warrant you to believe in Christ: and if ye do not think this sufficient, take His promise of welcome, ratified with His oath, Ezekiel 33:11, these being the “two immutable things wherein it is impossible for God to lie”.
Rev. Malcolm Watts (Emmanuel Church, Salisbury) and Rev. David Silversides (Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian Church) have also written helpful articles on this subject.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Quotes from Thomas Watson's Body of Divinity (1)
News of the fellowship
'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching'.
Answer: There is but One only, the living and true God.
God Himself makes it abundantly plain, in His word, putting it beyond any shadow of doubt, that He is the only true and living God. In Isaiah 45:21,22, we read, “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else”. He is the only living and true God.
There are, as God reveals in His word, others, or certain things which are called gods, or are referred to as being a god.
Firstly. Angels. Psalm 97:7, “Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods”. The apostle citing this verse in Hebrews 1:6, calls them “angels”.
Secondly. Magistrates. Exodus 22:28, “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people”. (margin, “judges”). See also John 10:34.
Thirdly. Idols. Deuteronomy 32:16,17, “They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not”. Further in 1 Kings 11:33, we read of “Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Mil-com the god of the children of Ammon”.
Fourthly. Satan. The devil is called the god of this world. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”. John Brown of Haddington writes, “He is believed, obeyed, adored, under various form, by most of the inhabitants (of this world)”.
Fifthly. Man's belly. Philippians 3:19, “Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things”. Such a man has a carnal appetite, being chiefly concerned about themselves.
John Flavel writes, “But doth not the Scriptures say”, (in 1 Corinthians 8:5), “that there are gods many, and lords many? Yes; there are many in title, and many in opinion, but only one in truth”. There is, as the Scriptures make plain, and further as the catechism states, “but one only, the living and true God. Jeremiah writes, “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation”. Jeremiah 10:10.
Firstly. He is the true God. James Fisher asks, “Why is he called the true God?” And then answers, “In opposition to all false and imaginary gods”. “Thus shall ye say unto them, the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens”. Jeremiah 10: 11. Other gods are false gods, but our God, who is ours through grace, is the true God, the real God. The first command of the Decalogue says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. He alone is to be worshipped in a religious way, why? For other gods are false. In seeking to keep that command we wholeheartedly acknowledge and humbly confess before God, that He is the only true God. Ebenezer Erskine speaking of the positive duty of obeying the first commandment writes, “to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God”.
As being true, He is referred to as “A God of truth”. Moses in Deuteronomy 32:4 said, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he”. God is infinitely holy, pure and just. The Psalmist, in Psalm 92:15 says, “there is no unrighteousness in him”. There is none whatsoever in God, He is free from, and, is the complete opposite to sin.
We know him to be true, for in all his words and works, He speaks and acts in perfection.
First, His words. Christ in that High priestly prayer to His Father said, “Thy word is truth”. John 17:17. The apostle writes in Hebrews 6:18, “It is impossible for God to lie”.
Second, His works. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4. In the work of creation, then in His unfolding providence, and further by the work of Redemption we bear testimony to the truth of God.
Secondly, He is the living God. These two words “true” and “living” go together. If He were not the true God, He would not be the living God, if He were not the living God, He could not be the true God. His name “Jehovah” in itself, conveys to us that He is the living God. The name Jehovah means the eternal, self existent one. “I am that I am”. Exodus 3:14. He has always been there, He is there, and will always be there. Christ says in Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty”. He needs none other. He exists by His own infinite power. He is the living God. The Psalmist in Psalm 90:2 writes, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God”.
Pause and reflect on those words: “Thou art God!” He knows God to be there. We, as believers, know God to be there.
Consider firstly, by our existence here upon earth. Paul said in Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being”. We breathe, walk, talk, sing, eat, drink and sleep. We exist because He is the living God.
Secondly, by the existence of that new Spiritual life within. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, that principle of grace, has been implanted within us. Faith along with those other graces from Christ have been put within. We have faith in Him, we love Him, we live for Him, our new life bears evidence that He is a living God. Recall what Paul said, “Christ liveth in me”. Galatians 2:20. Job could say by faith, “I know that my Redeemer liveth”. Job 19:25. The apostle Paul, in writing his first epistle to the brethren that were at Thessalonica, wrote concerning their faith that was being spoken of by many. In verse 9 of the first chapter he wrote, “how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God”.
My dear friends , let us pause and consider, we serve and worship the living and true God, He who is the only God.
At first, the results of Brainerd's efforts were not very rewarding. He had to overcome the language barrier and the mistrust of the Indians. Many times Brainerd records that he preached, “yet there appeared nothing of the power of God among them”. Though much of his disappointment is recorded, he makes more of the goodness and mercy of God. As he worked among the Indians, there were many joyful moments when they responded to his preaching in repentance and faith towards God in Christ.
Brainerd's life was brief, (he died at the age of twenty nine), but it was given to God with an intensity and wholeheartedness that few experience. As we consider just a fragment of his ministry may we be inspired to greater service in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
David Brainerd was born in America, April 20th. 1718, of godly parents. Awakened by the Spirit of God, he was born again at the age of twenty. He attended for the next three years Yale College, and began to preach when he was twenty four and continued to do so among the Indians from 1743 to 1747. It was most fitting that his life story should be written and his journal published. Men like William Carey were influenced by it. He urged his fellow labourers in India to “think of David Brainerd wrestling in prayer among the solitudes of the backwoods of America”. Henry Martyn, brilliant scholar of Cambridge University was also influenced by Brainerd, “I longed to be a flame of fire continually glowing in the divine service, and building up Christ's kingdom to my last and dying breath...now to burn out for God!”
Among his other graces, David Brainerd had a supreme desire for God's glory, a deep longing after holiness, and a daily practice of intercessory prayer. “O that I could spend every moment of my life to God's glory!” he once said. “Here I am, Lord, send me to the rough, savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort even to death itself, if it be Thy service and to promote Thy kingdom. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. On other occasion he burst out, “Oh that my soul was holy as He is holy! Oh that it were pure even as He is pure!” One cannot but believe that if he had applied more to the all cleansing blood of Christ of which so little is said in his diary, we should not have had those bitter upbraidings and bemoaning of corruption, nor those awful melancholy complaints which at length he came to regard as “sinful dejection”, and which hindered his usefulness.
On April 1st. 1742, at the age of twenty four, he writes, “I seem to be declining with respect to my warmth in divine things. Oh that God would humble me deeply in the dust before Him”. During the night of October 19th. of that same year, he records, “I felt a sweet longing in my soul after holiness”. These intense longings after sanctification are soon followed by confessions of failure and defeat that might seem discouraging to us who read these things in the experience of a man of God. In the following November, he records, “Had still a sense of my great vileness.... Oh, what a nothing, what dust and ashes am I”.
However, on a Sabbath in December there was a gleam of brightness on his dejected soul, “I preached with some sweetness on Matthew 6:33. This has been a sweet Sabbath to me”. This temporary relief was soon after succeeded by such fresh gloom and darkness of soul that, in unworthiness he shrank from ever going to the heathen with the gospel. Jonathan Edwards says that “his mind was overwhelmed with an exceeding gloominess and melancholy”.
On April 1st. 1743 Brainerd arrived among the Indians of Kaunaumeek and writes this, “ was greatly exercised with inward trials and distresses all day, and seemed to have no God to go to. However, preached to the Indians both forenoon and afternoon”. He was only twenty five, and records these words, “Enjoyed not much sweetness this morning, was very weak in body throughout the day; and thought that this frail body would soon drop in the dust, and had some very realising apprehensions of a speedy entrance into another world”.
On a Sabbath in that same year Brainerd mentions this, “Was much perplexed with some very irreligious Dutchmen. All their discourse turned upon the things of this world. O what a hell it would be to spend an eternity with such men! Well might David say, “I beheld the transgressors, and was much grieved”, Psalm 119:158. Soon after he writes, “I spent this whole day alone in prayer and fasting, being very dull and lifeless, melancholy and discouraged, but having read 2 Kings 19, my soul was moved and affected. I saw there was no other way for the afflicted people of God to take, but to go to God with all their sorrows as Hezekiah did, in his great distress, went and spread his complaint before the Lord”.
Another entry in his diary records this, “studying the Indian language, need to be alone in the back woods to do this, where I can also spend much time in prayer”. His father in law, Jonathan Edwards comments, “this study of the Indian language necessitated his frequent riding twenty four miles backward and forward through uninhabited woods, and exposed him often to extreme hardship especially in the winter”.
On the Sabbath of February 24th. 1745, Brainerd discovered this vital truth: “My discourse was well suited to my own case, for of late I have found a great want of apprehension of divine grace, and have often been greatly distressed in my soul, because I did not suitably apprehend this fountain opened to purge away sin; and so have been too much labouring for spiritual life, and peace of conscience, and progressive holiness in my own strength. But now God has shown me in some measure the arm of all strength and the fountain of all grace”. Edwards comments, “This is the secret of holiness that even earnest souls often miss. They magnify law rather than grace, they see the exceeding sinfulness of sin and forget the omnipotent Saviour, they deplore their guilt and stain, but do not extol the precious blood of Jesus”.
Next we find Brainerd in the lovely Susquehannah valley, to preach to another tribe of Indians, but even there he finds himself disconsolate, weak and exhausted. He writes, “I feel what Job must have felt, in 9:16, “If I had called, and He had answered me, yet would I not believe that He had hearkened to my voice”. But from that moment were there were conversions among the Indians, which brought such joy to his heart, he wrote, “God was pleased to assist me in prayer and give me souls for my hire”.
At this time we read of Brainerd's increasing weakness, and the alarming symptoms preceding his home call. Once, this weakness was so great that he almost fell off his horse when riding through the woods. He spent his last months in the home of Jonathan Edwards who notes Brainerd`s last words, “O why is His chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels? I am very willing to part with all to be for ever with the Lord. I am almost in eternity. I long to be there. My work is done. All the world is nothing to me. I long to be in Heaven praising the Lord with the holy angels. All my desire is to glorify God. My parting prayer is for gospel ministers, that they may be filled with the Spirit.
Let us, as we watch David Brainerd's heavenward translation, pray like Elisha. “Oh that I might receive a double portion of his spirit” – his love for the heathen, and his longing for the kingdom of God to come.
We glorify God, by being contented in that state in which Providence has placed us.
Though nothing can add to God's essential glory, yet praise exalts Him in the eyes of others.
Let us lead Scripture lives. Oh that the Bible might be seen printed in our lives! Do what the Bible commands. Obedience is an excellent way of commenting upon the Bible.
What a mercy is it that God has not only acquainted us with what His will is, but that He has made it known by writing.
God knows whatever is knowable.
He is God, and has a sovereignty over us; therefore, as we received life from Him, so must we receive a law from Him, and submit to His will in all things.
Oh study the shortness of life and length of eternity!
God has decreed troubles for the church's good. The troubles of God's church is like the angel's troubling the water, which made way for healing His people.
I fear I shall not hold out. Christian, dost thou believe the power of God? Has not God preserved thy grace thus far? Mayest thou not set up thy Ebenezer? God has kept thy grace hitherto as a spark in the main ocean; and is He able to still keep it?
This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of His eye, the pearl of His crown; which He guards, as He did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God Himself has appointed, else it is strange fire.
Thanksgiving does not stand in church-music, the melody of an organ, but rather in making melody in the heart to the Lord.
On May 28th, we set apart Mr. John Adamson as our Deacon. We thank God for guiding us as a congregation.
We continue to witness in the open air at Ringwood, and visit homes in Fordingbridge where gospels and tracts are distributed. Every home has received “The Gospel according to Luke”, and then further visited. We pray for the Lord’s assistance in visiting the whole town again, the Lord willing, in the next few years. The Proclaimer is currently being distributed around the local hamlets.
We are praying for our young people who come to Sabbath School, Thursday Club, Senior and Junior Clubs. We are very pleased to have at least six young people at our Sabbath Services. The monthly Ladies Coffee Mornings continue to be a great blessing.
We continue to support Stephen and Yolanda at the New Tribes Mission H.Q.
In a short review only one example may be given. It is in a letter to John Gordon at Rusco, “Remember, many go far on and reform many things, and can find tears, as Esau did; and suffer hunger for truth, as Judas did; and desire the end of the righteous as Balaam did; and fight for the Lord, as Saul did; and desire the saints to pray for them, as Pharoah did; and prophesy of Christ, as Caiaphas did; and fear God`s judgements, as Ahab did; and put away idolatry, as Jehu did; and hear the Word of God gladly, as Herod did; and offer to follow Christ, as the servant did, (Matthew 8:19). “And yet”, Rutherford says, “all these are but like gold in colour only”.
“But let us try ourselves, and not rest till we be a step nearer to Christ. I commend Christ and His love to you in all things. Let Him have the flower of your heart and love”.
Publisher: Banner of Truth (April 2006)
The revival in interest and commitment to the truths of Reformed Theology over the last fifty years is due largely to the rediscovery of Puritan literature. “Meet the Puritans” introduces the leading figures of the Puritan movement in England, Scotland, Holland and America, with brief biographies and extracts from their works. All that you ever needed to know about the Puritans and Puritanism has come from the pens of these two distinguished scholars, Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson, who have given their lives to making the Puritan men and their works known and accessible to this present generation. Their work has been painstaking, thorough and comprehensive – a splendid achievement!
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (2006)
,1, A Character of the Godly: i) In general, they were fearers of God; “they that feared the Lord”. ii) in special, a. “They spake often one to another”. b. “They thought upon God's Name”.
,2, The Good Effects of their Piety: i) The Lord regarded; “He hearkened and heard”. ii) He recorded it; “a book of remembrance was written”.
,3, He rewarded it; and this reward consisted in three things. i) God's owning them; “they shall be mine”. ii) God's honouring them; “in that day when I make up my jewels”. iii) God's sparing them; “I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”.
Thomas Watson himself says that the main design of this excellent Scripture, is to encourage solid piety, and confute the atheists of this world, who imagine that there is no gain in godliness. Will the world, or men's lusts, give them such noble recompenses of reward, as God bestows upon His followers? It is an unhappiness that, in these luxuriant times, religion should for the most part run either into notion or ceremony.
Publisher: Banner of Truth (June 2006 but re-titled "The Great Gain of Godliness")
Thursday, July 03, 2008
The practice has been retained in many congregations in Scotland and Ireland, but, sadly, in England, along with other departures, standing for prayer has for some time been discontinued. However, and thankfully, there are signs in some quarters of a growing concern for the purity of worship and, in consequence, there has been a return to the biblically recognized posture for public prayer. It is our prayer that other churches will follow the lead given and that soon we shall see a general reformation in this area.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The Bible, which is God's Word, brings us news, which does not bring joy to our hearts, for there is the news of sin, death, punishment and Judgment. However it also brings to us the best news that you will ever hear, for it tells us of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Luke 2: 10 & 11, the shepherds were told by the angel, ”Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Oh what wonderful news! By Jesus Christ, through what He has done, particularly suffering and dying on the cross because of sin, one can be saved, forgiven, have a life with God, and go to heaven, rather than that other place. Do you truly know this good news? In God's hymnbook in the middle of the Bible, we read this; “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:” Psalm 89:15 Are you happy to hear the gospel? and then, further, are you truly happy, because you know the gospel? If not, look unto the Lord, repent of your sins and believe the Gospel. Jesus said, “Come unto me” He says that today, for He is alive, there in heaven above.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Also online is a recent midweek meeting sermon on the grace of God, joy and exhortation (Acts 11 v 23) preached on the evening of 13th May 2008.
Edit: Another midweek meeting sermon is now online: the Lord's teaching on judgment (Matthew 7 v 1-5) preached on the evening of 4th June 2008.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
157th Church Anniversary
10th & 11th of May 2008
1st & 2nd of November 2008
158th Church Anniversary
2nd & 3rd of May 2009
Rev John J Murray
Latest online sermon:
preached on the evening of 2nd April 2008.
Friday, April 04, 2008
The preacher will be the Rev. John Thackway, minister of Holywell Evangelical Church, North Wales and editor of the Bible League Quarterly.
Refreshments will follow the service.
Rev. Thackway will also preach on the Sabbath (11th May) at 11am and 6pm.
Edit: the anniversary sermons are now online.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Worshipping in the presence of God, with the brethren, with a thankful heart (Exodus ch. 18 v. 12), preached on the morning of 23rd March 2008.
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew ch. 6 v. 24), preached on the evening of 26th March 2008.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Also now available is another gospel sermon "The time of love" (Ezekiel 18 v 8) preached on the evening of 24th February 2008.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Dear young people,
The ‘Book of Psalms’ which is found in the middle of the Bible, is God’s hymnbook. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour, sang from this hymnbook when He was here upon earth. On His own, with His disciples, and in those places of worship He attended, He from His heart sang these heavenly songs. He found much joy, pleasure, and comfort in doing so.
The Lord tells us we are to sing, and, further, that we are to sing Psalms. In Psalm 105: 2, we read "Sing unto Him, sing Psalms unto Him:"
The Lord Jesus Christ has left us an example. Follow the Saviour in the singing of Psalms, and discover the wonder, the depth, the comfort, and the great joy there is to be found in them.
These 20 Psalms are taken from God’s hymnbook and are put together in this little book to introduce, and encourage you to sing Psalms!
For copies of this book please contact Rev. Aaron J. Lewis at .
Edit: you can now listen to the young people of Crosslanes Chapel singing psalms.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
News of the Fellowship
'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching'.
1 O Lord, how are my foes increas'd?
against me many rise.
2 Many say of my soul, For him
in God no succour lies.
3 Yet Thou my shield and glory art,
th' uplifter of mine head.
4 I cry'd, and, from His holy hill,
the Lord me answer made.
5 I laid me down and slept; I wak'd;
for God sustained me.
6 I will not fear though thousands ten
set round against me be.
7 Arise, O Lord; save me, my God;
for Thou my foes hast stroke
all on the cheek-bone, and the teeth
of wicked men hast broke.
8 Salvation doth appertain
unto the Lord alone:
Thy blessing, Lord, for evermore
Thy people is upon.
Notes by John Brown of Haddington:
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
Having beheld the royal dignity of my Redeemer, let me here behold the joy, the peace, the safety of the redeemed, amidst their distresses innumerable. Here David, driven from his holy capital and high throne, by his rebellious son Absalom, (1.) Complains to his God of the number and malice of his enemies, ver. 1-2. (2.) He encourageth himself in his God, as the source and subject-matter of his safety, joy, and honour, ver. 3. (3.) He recollects, how, on former occasions, his troubles had driven him to his prayers; how he had always found God ready to hear and grant his requests; how safe and easy he had lived under his protection; and how effectually he had broken the power and restrained the malice of his enemies, ver. 4-5, 7. ( 4.) Triumphantly trusting in God, as the salvation and blesser of his people, he silenceth all his fears, and pours forth his prayers for new protection and deliverance, ver. 6, 8.
Think, my soul, of Jesus, who, when bulls of Bashan compassed Him about, trusted in God, that He would deliver Him. In all my distress, let me pour out my heart before him, believing in him as God, even my God. Let me always rejoice in the great God my Saviour. Let me trust in Him at all times, that as He hath delivered, and doth deliver, so He will deliver me.
God’s hymnbook found in the middle of your Bible has a place within my life; the songs touch the heart and therefore cause me to value them as precious. May I ask, is it precious to you? You may of course read from it, but have you neglected to sing from it? Consider our Saviour sung from it here upon earth. He sung from it, because He loved it, was in full agreement with its place within the worship of God, and, further, desired to set you an example. These inspired songs were sung from His heart, and He knew great comfort and joy in singing them. My dear friends, He desires you, and wants you to sing from them. “Let me here thy voice”, Song of Solomon 2: 14.
Let every minister promote this glorious hymnbook. Let every church and home have a Psalter. Let these glorious Psalms, hymns and songs that we have in the Psalter, be sung with such freshness, and be heard from every Church and Chapel of this old country of ours! May God yet bless the cause of Psalmody in a great way, to the glory of His name, and to the blessing of His Church.
Aaron J Lewis
If Christ lights the candle, Satan cannot blow it out.
Jacob saw angels ascending and descending, but none standing still.
Jesus Christ is light to the eye, honey to the taste, music to the ears, and joy to the heart.
Jesus Christ to a believer is fairer than the fairest, sweeter than the sweetest, nearer than the nearest, dearer than the dearest, richer than the richest, and better than the best.
Jesus has many lovers of His crown, but few bearer of His cross.
Jesus lived that He might die, and died that we might live.
It is the devil’s masterpiece to make us think well of ourselves.
If you would know the heart of your sin, you must know the sin of your heart.
If you are God’s child, behave yourself accordingly.
If in God you delight, you shall have songs in the night.
I have a great need of Christ; but I have a great Christ for my need.
Faith sees God, and God sees faith.
Faith honours Christ, and Christ honours faith.
Fiery trials make golden Christians.
Faith’s eye sees in the dark.
Bless God heartily though He afflicts you heavily.
Be all for Christ, since He is all to thee.
Begin the year with godly fear.
We have consistently distributed Gospels, calendars, and other Christian literature in our locality, and also to Ringwood and Fordingbridge. The Gospel has been faithfully preached in the open air at Ringwood during the spring, summer and autumn months.
We were very pleased to receive two new members during the year.
Our Annual Luncheon was held in January, and was attended by forty people. Our Minister spoke from the words of our Saviour, “Come unto Me”.
Church Anniversary, Saturday, 10th. May. The expected preacher, the Lord willing, is the Rev John Thackway, from Holywell, North Wales.
Autumn Meeting, Saturday, 1st. November. The expected preacher, the Lord willing, is the Rev William Macleod, from Glasgow.
Little is known of William Tyndale`s early life, but it is very probable that he was born in 1494 on the edge of the Cotswold hills, halfway between Bristol and Gloucester. From grammar school at Wotton-under-Edge, Tyndale was sent at the age of 12 to Magdalene College in Oxford, to receive grounding in Latin. He obtained his B.A. when he was 18, and his M.A. at 21.
Scripture was studied at Oxford, but only after years of brainwashing ensured that nothing of spiritual value could be derived from it. Theology could not even be studied till the entire Arts course was studied first. Tyndale wrote, “In the universities they have ordained that no man shall look in the Scripture until he be noselled in heathen learning for eight or nine years, and armed with false principles, with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of Scripture.” This system of instruction ensured that Romish heresies would be taught, and that gospel light be extinguished, and thence the students would be denied spiritual blessings from the Word of God.
But in spite of his acute dissatisfaction with the place, Tyndale persevered at Oxford, and was most likely ordained in 1521 at the age of 27. Shortly after his ordination he took up an appointment as tutor to the two young boys of Sir John Walsh, a long standing friend of Henry VIII, and twice High Sheriff of Gloucestershire. He also did much preaching at this time in the Bristol area, and inevitably attracted the scornful attention of the local clerics, because of his biblical zeal, as had happened a century and a half before, under John Wycliffe.
Despite persistent efforts to find a commission for his work of translating the Scriptures, by 1524 he resigned himself to the fact that he would need to go abroad to take up this work. So Tyndale left London for Cologne where he would be able to find a printer who was willing to co-operate with him. He knew, however, that by leaving London, he was still by no means out of danger. It was clear that to press ahead with this commission would very probably mean living the rest of his life on the run, evading the Romish authorities, and enduring all manner of setbacks and discouragements.
Sir Thomas More who vehemently opposed Tyndale`s aims and convictions described him as, “a man of good living, studious and well learned in Scripture, and in divers places of England was very well liked and did great good with preaching.” But in a letter to his friend John Frith he wrote, “God hath made me evil-favoured in this world, and without grace in the eyes of men.”
Tyndale was not a man-pleaser: in answering his great calling, he knew he was signing his own death warrant. To translate the Scriptures into the English language was forbidden by the Romish authorities. It is likely that this was due in part to the irrepressible energy of Cardinal Wolsey, that miniature pope and formidable arch-enemy of the Gospel.
We may wonder why the 16th century English Church, while still under Rome`s rule, justified its suppression of the Scriptures, as if they had been something dangerous. Indeed, a law was passed in 1229, whereby the interpretation of the Bible was forbidden to the laity, and was still in force in Tyndale`s time, two centuries later. It is understandable that Rome would feel themselves so threatened by the propagation of Scripture, for it is their conviction that Scripture and tradition together were the Church`s supreme rule of faith, and it is their practice that where these two are in disagreement, it is Scripture that must give way, while tradition remains unchallenged. For Tyndale, however, Scripture alone must be the rule of faith.
In a sermon sixteen years after Tyndale`s death, Hugh Latimer attributed Tyndale`s translation to the providence of God, “Truly we are much bound to God that He hath set out this His will in our natural mother tongue, in English, I say, so that now you may not only hear it, but also read it for yourselves; which thing is a great comfort to every Christian heart.”
Latimer goes on to demonstrate that the Reformation, then making such swift progress, was directly and indispensably attributed to Tyndale`s sacrifice. He quoted Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” He goes on to ask with reference to Ephesians 6:17, “How could the lay people have that sword of the Spirit, how could they fight with the devil, when all things were in Latin, so that they could not understand it? Therefore, how needful it is for every man to have God`s Word….only with the Word of God shall we avoid and chase the devil, and with nothing else”.
As knowledge of the Scriptures increased, many were converted. Rome`s falsehood was exposed for what it really was. The process was not immediate. It took thirteen years, after Tyndale`s martyrdom, before English replaced Latin in English Church services.
Seconds before he died, he prayed, “Lord, open the King of England`s eyes”, (Henry VIII). God answered. Within three years the King relented; Miles Coverdale, who had completed the remainder of the Old Testament was permitted to publish England`s first Authorised Version, the Great Bible of 1539.
This was enough. The great dam that Rome had built to stop up the flow of Gospel blessings, the waters of life, had been broken. This flow would be a raging torrent. It would be unstoppable. Praise God for William Tyndale!
Question: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
Thomas Watson said, “The Trinity is purely an object of faith, the plumb line of reason is too short to fathom this mystery; but where reason cannot wade, there faith must swim…. This sacred doctrine, though it be not against reason, yet it is above reason”. James Fisher asks, ‘Is not a Trinity of persons, in the divine Essence, an unsearchable mystery?’ He answers, ‘Yes; and so is every perfection of God, which infinitely transcends our thoughts, and finite capacities.’
Here upon earth, we can never expect to, nor will we fully understand, or grasp this great and glorious doctrine; one must wait for heaven, not till then, with perfect minds will we really begin to understand, and grasp it in a fuller way. However, we must believe it and defend it.
In 325 AD the Nicene Creed was formulated. The Creed fenced the doctrine of the trinity against the anti-trinitarian heresies; particularly at that time the heresy called, Arianism. Arius taught, and promoted, that there was only one person, of the divine nature, and, that the Son was the highest created being. It left the conclusion that the Son and the Holy Spirit were not truly God. Later in 381 AD at the Constantinople Council the Nicene Creed was strengthened, the deity of the Holy Ghost was affirmed and certain heresies were condemned, particularly Apollinarianism. Apollinarius had taught erroneous things concerning the humanity of Christ, denying that Christ had no human spirit.
Many heresies have arisen over the centuries; the truth of the Trinity has often been under attack. Today many of us are confronted on the door with the attack by the J.W.’s on the doctrine of the Trinity.
This glorious, true and great mystery must ever be defended, reverently and wholeheartedly here upon earth.
The Shorter Catechism states, There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
Opening it up, simply consider,
1stly. the ‘Godhead’, and 2ndly. the ‘Persons’
1stly, the Godhead. The Apostle Paul at Athens said to the people, in Acts17: 29, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Paul writes to the brethren at Rome, in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”, and then finally, in Colossians 2: 9, “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” We have here this word, ‘Godhead’, a word which is often used and thought upon. What actually does the Godhead mean? The Godhead is, the ‘divine nature, essence or being of God’. As we consider the Godhead, we fundamentally declare in light of Scripture that there is only one divine nature, essence, or being: the Godhead.
2ndly, The Persons, This word, I suggest is to be treated with utmost care. In using this word in reference to man, we readily think of one individual human being or essence. However, in considering the Persons of the Trinity, they are not three individual divine natures, or three gods as the Tri-theists believe. Each person of the Trinity is of the same substance; that which stands behind all three of the Persons, is the one Divine essence. All three are the Godhead. John Brown of Haddington writes, ‘every created person is a distinct being….but all divine persons are and must be, one being’. When using the word Person in reference to the Trinity, one must never speak of an individual God. However, one can rightly speak of a ‘distinction’, ‘distinct existence,’ ‘subsistence’, or ‘hypo-sta-sis’. There are three persons in the Godhead.
From this, we affirm, firstly, that all three exist and can all say individually, “I”, and then, secondly, they all can have communion with one another, and enjoy the fellowship and love of each other.
Firstly, They all exist, and can individually say, “I”. The Father, in John 12: 28, said, in responding to the Son, in view of His name, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The Son said in John 17:4, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” And then finally, we read of the Holy Spirit in Acts 13:2, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, ‘Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them’.”
Secondly, they all can have communion with one another, and enjoy one another’s fellowship and love. In John 17: 24, we read, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”
John writing in 1 John 5:7 writes, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” They are in unity and agreement in their testimony. It implies fellowship and communion with each other. Finally, in Revelation 1:4 & 5 we read, “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: ‘Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness’,” Oh such intimate, love, fellowship and communion they have; enjoyed from all eternity and will be enjoyed for all eternity to come.
As the Scripture plainly reveals in many places, there are three distinct existences in the Godhead. For a few moments, let us consider some of those passages of Scripture.
1stly, Christ in Isaiah 61 :1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
2ndly, At the baptism of Christ, recorded for us in Matthew 3: 16, 17, we read, “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
3rdly, In Matthew 28:19, Christ said to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
4thly, Consider then the apostolic benediction in 2 Corinthians 13: 14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
5thly, John makes the doctrine abundantly plain in 1 John 5: 7. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
6thly, and finally, (however, not being a comprehensive consideration of the texts), Revelation 1: 4, “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.”
Moving on, consider what are called those ‘personal properties.’
James Fisher questions, ‘How are the persons in the Godhead distinguished from each other?’ He answers, ‘By their personal properties, which are incommunicable to each other.’ John Owen writes, ‘What mean you by person?’ and answers, ‘A distinct manner of subsistence.., distinguished from the other persons by its own properties.’ John Brown observes, ‘chiefly by their personal properties.’ He goes on to remind us, amongst other things, that their names distinguish them from one another. A personal property is, as Robert Shaw writes, ‘something peculiar to each.’
1stly. It is the personal property of the Father to beget the Son, (Psalm 2. 7, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.”).
2ndly, It is the personal property of the Son to be eternally begotten of the Father, John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” We speak whole heartedly of the eternal generation of the Son.
3rdly. It is the personal property of the Holy Ghost to proceed eternally from the Father and the Son. In John 15:26, Christ said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me:” and then, in Galatians 4:6, Paul writes, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
Finally, the confession states, ‘equal in power and in glory’.
Firstly, ‘equal in power.’
Consider 1stly, the Father. Christ prayed to the Father in Mark 14: 36, “And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”
2ndly. The Son. In Philippians 3:21, speaking of Christ, Paul writes; “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” In Rev 1: 8, we read, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
3rdly. The Holy Spirit. Isaiah writes, Isaiah 11: 2, “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”.
In Luke 1:35 the angel said to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”.
Equal in power, and then, secondly, ‘equal in glory.’ All three distinct persons equally shine in Excellency, for they are of the same divine nature.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
The doctrine of the trinity is essential to the faith. One who rejects this great doctrine, is not saved, and therefore does not belong to the true Church of Jesus Christ. John writes in 1 John 2:23, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
We are as believers to firmly, and whole-heartedly believe in the doctrine of the trinity. Thomas Watson said this, ‘We can be no good Christians, without the firm belief of the Trinity’.