Monday, November 07, 2011

Autumn Preaching 2011 Online

Sermons preached by Rev. John Thackway at the fourth Crosslanes Chapel Autumn Preaching meeting are now available for listening online:

The Lord's Compassions (Lamentations 3 v 22,23)
Secret Prayer, Sudden Prayer and Social Prayer (Nehemiah 1 v 4, 2 v 4, 4 v 9)
Psalm 6

The Proclaimer, Autumn 2011

Magazine of Crosslanes Chapel

News of the Fellowship
Duties after the Lord's supper, by John Willison
Haggai, Be strong, work, and the Lord be with you. (2)
Book Reviews: Only a prayer meeting! and Sing a new song.
Psalm 18 Notes by John Brown of Haddington
C H Spurgeon John 17 : 16

Sermon: C. H. Spurgeon

Opening and concluding remarks of sermon preached on John 17 : 16 delivered on Thursday Evening, November 22, 1855, by the Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16

Christ's prayer was for a special people. He declared that he did not offer an universal intercession. "I pray for them," said he. "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine." In reading this beautiful prayer through, only one question arises to our minds; Who are the people that are described as "them," or as "they?" Who are these favoured individuals, who share a Saviour's prayers, are recognized by a Saviour's love, have their names written on the stones of his precious breastplate, and have their characters and their circumstances mentioned by the lips of the High Priest before the throne on high? The answer to that question is supplied by the words of our text. The people for whom Christ prays are an unearthly people. They are a people somewhat, above the world, distinguished altogether from it. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

And Christian, lastly, by way of practice, let me comfort thee with this. Thou art not of the world for thy home is in heaven. Be content to be here a little, for thou art not of the world, and thou shalt go up to thine own bright inheritance by-and-bye. A man in travelling goes into an inn; it is rather uncomfortable, "Well," says he, "I shall not have to stay here many nights; I have only to sleep here to-night, I shall be at home in the morning, so that I don't care much about one night's lodging being a little uncomfortable." So, Christian, this world is never a very comfortable one; but recollect, you are not of the world. This world is like an inn; you are only lodging here a little while. Put up with a little inconvenience, because you are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world; and by-and-bye, up yonder, you shall be gathered into your father's house, and there you will find that there is a new heaven and a new earth provided for those who are "not of the world."

Metrical Psalm 18

Notes by Rev John Brown Haddington

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul:

In this psalm of thanksgiving for manifold deliverances, observe, (1.) David's ardent love to God in Christ, whom he believed to be his own, in every gracious and saving relation; and by whom he had experienced his merciful, almighty, and seasonable deliverance from depths of trouble, ver. 1-19. (2.) His comfortable reflections, on the integrity which the Lord had enabled him to maintain, and on the gracious kindness of God, consequential thereupon, ver. 20-28. (3.) His thankful ascription of all the glory of his noted exploits to God, as his director and strengthener, ver. 29-42. (4.) His triumphant faith and hope, of further assistance and favour from God, to himself and to his seed for evermore, ver. 43-50.

But let me not forget Jesus, to whom Jehovah is so closely, so marvellously, so sweetly related: Jesus, who so ardently loveth his eternal Father, and for ever returns the grateful remembrance of his kindness to him, and to his chosen seed, in delivering him from distress; in raising him from the dead; in rewarding his obedience unto death, in giving him glory at his own right hand, and in rendering all nations his obedient subjects. Let me sing this new song, in the full assurance of faith, that God in Christ is my all and in all; and with a heart ravished with the consolations of Christ, and in the sweet reviews of what he hath done, what he doth, and what he will for ever do, for my soul.

1 Thee will I love, O Lord, my strength.
2 My fortress is the Lord,
My rock, and he that doth to me
deliverance afford:

My God, my strength, whom I will trust,
a buckler unto me,
The horn of my salvation,
and my high tow'r, is he.

3 Upon the Lord, who worthy is
of praises, will I cry;
And then shall I preserved be
safe from mine enemy.

4 Floods of ill men affrighted me,
death's pangs about me went;
5 Hell's sorrows me environed;
death's snares did me prevent.

6 In my distress I call'd on God,
cry to my God did I;
He from his temple heard my voice,
to his ears came my cry.

7 Th' earth, as affrighted, then did shake,
trembling upon it seiz'd:
The hills' foundations moved were,
because he was displeas'd.

8 Up from his nostrils came a smoke,
and from his mouth there came
Devouring fire, and coals by it
were turned into flame.

9 He also bowed down the heav'ns,
and thence he did descend;
And thickest clouds of darkness did
under his feet attend.

Sing a new song

Sing a new song edited by Joel R. Beeke and Anthony T. Selvaggio

Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (2010)

ISBN-13: 978-1601781055

In His infinite wisdom, our Lord graciously gave to the Church, a wonderful manual of praise, commonly called the Book of Psalms. It has never been surpassed, nor can be, though many have thought otherwise. No one can deny, if they seriously read the Bible, that the singing of Psalms has an important place in the Worship of God. Sadly the singing of Psalms is never, or rarely heard in many congregations. Even from a non exclusive psalm singing position, which as you know is not the position I take, this ought not be. In their own arguments many have believed in the singing of Psalms, yet in practice they are generally at odds with themselves.

As God has made abundantly plain that the Psalms are to be sung in worship, where they have been neglected, a recovery is urgently needed. Thankfully there are some signs of hope, for which we give God the praise, however much more must be done for God's glory. Any book that has been compiled by good men who advocate Psalm singing has to, and must be recommended. 'Sing a new song, Recovering Psalm singing for the twenty first century ',fits into this category.

As a little taster, the three main parts of the book are as follows;
Part 1 Psalm singing in History.
Part 2 Psalm singing in Scripture.
Part 3 Psalm singing in the twenty first century.
We are grateful to Joel Beeke, Anthony T Selvaggio and all who worked on and contributed to this excellent book.

May it be, that under God, we live to see a wonderful recovery in the singing of divinely appointed praise. “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him:” Psalm 105 : 2

Only a prayer meeting!

Only a prayer meeting! by C. H. Spurgeon

Publisher: Christian Focus Publications (2006)

ISBN-13: 978-1845505783

Are the prayer meetings in decline? Is there a low view of the importance of them? The church in this country is experiencing difficulties and yet the prayer meeting is suffering. These things ought not to be. When reading through the book of Acts we cannot fail to see that the early Church placed great importance upon the gathering of the people for prayer. It, being instituted by our Lord, therefore is of great concern to us. C H Spurgeon contended hard for the prayer meeting, which thankfully was heeded by many in his day. In this book there are a number of addresses, sermons and illustrations which have been gathered together, to encourage Christians to pray. The book begins with Spurgeon's address in which he declares those now familiar words; 'only a prayer meeting!'. Listen to Spurgeon; 'What a company we have here tonight! It fills my heart with gladness, and my eyes with tears of joy, to see so many hundreds of persons gathered together at what is sometimes wickedly described as “only a prayer meeting.” It is good for us to draw nigh unto God in prayer,and specially good to make up a great congregation for such a purpose.

At the last prayer meeting our glorious King was in the midst; were you there? If not, can you honestly say, He understood and accepted my absence.

May the Lord stir us up to pray!

Be strong, work, and the Lord be with you

Taken from a sermon preached by our Minister at the beginning of the year. In the previous magazine we considered the words 'be strong', at the beginning of the verse. We continue on this time to consider the call to work, and the encouragement of the Lord's accompanying presence and help.

2ndly Work
“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I [am] with you, saith the LORD of hosts:”

Strength was the urgent and pressing need of the day, for much work lay before them in building the temple, and their enemies were many and strong in might.

My dear brethren we need strength as we live here upon earth for a number reasons, however particularly consider how we need strength for the Glory of God; to worship Him and to serve Him in the work which He has called us to do. Let us pause at this moment in our lives and remind ourselves there is work to do!

The Minister of the Gospel, first of all, as being one called to that vital and important work, is to toil hard for the Master's sake. A Minister is described as a workman; in 2 Timothy 2 : 15 we read, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Further back in Ephesians 4 : 11 & 12 we read of the 'work'; “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” It is work, in which a Minister will be supported, but also in which he will know the weariness of the flesh; let us not underestimate the work.

Now there is much work to be done, particularly as we see in Acts 6: 4, The apostles declared, “ But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” In Mark 16 : 15, our Lord made plain they are to preach the the Gospel; He declared to the disciples “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” We see that the Ministers of the gospel must go, having a divine mandate, and as they go they must go preaching! Unashamedly they are to make known the law, sin, and it consequences. They must also must point sinners to Christ as the only Saviour and hope for them. George Whitefield encouraged ministers not to preach on just one day of the week, that being the Sabbath day, but on the other days of the week as well. Oh for such a day, when there would be a great interest and hunger for the word.

Dear brethren, pray that we might live to see great days in open air preaching, and that accompanying this, there would be a great awakening in this country! However, and this is so important, let us not forget there is still much to do, in these days of small things, for the Ministers of the gospel.

Although there is so little blessing seen in this country of England and there is much to discourage, the Ministers of the gospel are to be strong, and humbly be about their business, for the glory of God.

Moving on, consider secondly, all of God's children are to arise and serve the Lord. “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work:” Dear brethren, as those who have been saved by the sovereign grace of God, there is a work for you to do in this world, which must be your concern. The Lord has abundantly made plain in Scripture that He calls certain men to the ministry, and that work is for them and them alone to do, however, all believers belong to, and are servants of the most high. Therefore all of us should be toiling for the Master in some way.

Many an elderly saint has spent hours in the important work of prayer. A certain elderly lady who lived in Totton, on the edge of the New Forest, passed away. Next to her body was discovered a piece of paper that the Minister had given to her. Written upon it was a list of some unconverted young people. Previously, she had asked her Minister on a certain occasion, what could she do? What an important and vital work she faithfully continued to her dying day!

There are many things we can do. We are thankful for those who spend hours walking up and down the gardens paths delivering gospel tracts,those who spends hours on their knees in prayer, those who write letters to the prisons and to local schools.

My dear brethren, may I humbly exhort you to keep your selves in check; and ask yourselves, what am I doing for the Lord.

Sadly, a spirit of slumber can shroud the heart and the excuses come forth: I am too tired, others use that all too familiar line “I have not the time.” My dear brethren our lives are busy, there is much we must do by way necessity, but, and this is so important, let us not put to one side and neglect service for the King. In this modern age, here in the West, home improvements are high on the agenda amongst some, if not many of the Lord's people. Now it is not wrong to make some improvement from time to time, however, let me plead with you, be careful of how much time you spend on your properties each month. In Zerubbabel's day as we see in chapter 1 the people were concerned more about their own dwellings, rather than the house of God. It is not new thing.

Work for the Lord! Do not make excuses, be found serving the Lord. Now it can be tiring, and discouraging, but oh go and labour in the vineyard!

As we reflect this vital subject, consider the Lord whom we serve and then what Christ has done for us; does He not deserve our devotion, our time, our all! In 1 Chronicles 22 : 16, “ Arise therefore, and be doing,”

3rdly The Lord be with you.

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:”

There was a great and important work standing before them, a work which was fiercely opposed and which would involve much toil. By way of encouragement, and to lay before them the wonderful truth, the Lord said, “I am with you.

We are in need of the Lord's gracious presence and help, for left to ourselves, we can do nothing, We must earnestly pray and make our supplications unto Him, however, having said this be encouraged as you read this text, and take comfort, the Lord promises His gracious presence.

Remember again those words of our Lord 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. Lo I am with you, always.” When one is weary and discouraged, being assaulted by the evil one, and laughed at by the world, they can, and must, take comfort in their faithful and gracious Redeemer.

We are not alone, and further remember there is divine assistance awaiting us. In Isaiah 41 : 10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

We can be troubled like those disciples in the upper room, however, we are not like those who have no hope for we have the God of all comfort as our portion and who declares these wonderful and heart warming promises to our weary souls. Listen again to those words, “I am with thee,... I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Now, pause and consider, how amazing it is, that God, who is infinitely Holy, dwells with, and assists His people. We fail the Lord so often and sin against Him, yet He is our God and will never leave us or forsake us, dear brethren, does it not show to us the wonder and the glory of His grace and mercy. As you go forward in the service of King Jesus be encouraged.

How important is the work of evangelism. It was expressly commanded by our Lord not long before He left this world, and is a vital part of giving Him the glory, yet it is not an easy work, however take comfort, the Lord is with us. Oh dear brethren, rejoice, we have with us the friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Oh what mercy, oh what condescension; He goes with us! Be encouraged in Him, as you think of the work and those difficulties associated with it. In Romans 8 : 31 we read, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Here is the Lord's message for us in these days. May this exaltation and encouragement find a resting place in our hearts, and let us with Divine enabling serve the Lord: As you do so, remember this wonderful truth, it is not in vain! In 1 Corinthians 15 : 58 the apostle writes, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Duties after the Lord's Supper

by John Willison

Q. What duties are required of us after partaking of the Lord's Supper?
1. To preserve and keep a suitable frame of spirit when we rise up and come away from the Lord's Table.
2. To examine ourselves when we go to our retiring places.
3. To order our conversation rightly afterwards.

Q. What is that suitable frame and disposition of spirit which communicants ought to have when they rise and come from the Lord`s Table?
A. We ought to come away from this ordinance:
1. In an admiring frame.
2. In a thankful frame.
3. In a rejoicing frame.
4. In a humble frame.
5. In a watchful frame.
6. In a praying frame.
7. In a charitable frame.
8. In a willing and obedient frame.
9. In a fixed and resolute frame.
10. In a longing and heavenly frame.

Q. What should be matter of admiration to us when we come from the Lord's table?
A. We should wonder at the goodness and condescension of God to us, that He should have had thoughts of love for us, provided such a Surety and sacrifice for us as His own beloved Son, entertained us at His table, taken us into covenant and communion with Himself, and given us guarantees of our everlasting inheritance; and that He who is higher than the heavens should have done all this for creatures who are by nature mean as worms, nay, polluted and loathsome in the sight of God (Psalm 8:4; Psalm 113:5-6; 2 Chronicles 6:18; 2 Samuel 7:18).

Q. What is it that we should be thankful for when we come from the Lord's table?
A. We should be thankful to God for His love in giving Christ, and for the love of the Holy Spirit in revealing Christ to us and in us. Also, we should bless God for all the blessed fruits of this love, particularly for the well- ordered covenant of grace and the seals of it; for pardon of sin, and for all the rich benefits sealed to us at a communion table; that we live in a Goshen on earth and have the prospect of a Canaan above (Luke 2:14; Ephesians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 9:12, 15; Revelation 1:5; Deuteronomy 8:10).

Q. What is it that we should rejoice in when we go from the Lord's table?
A. 1. In the persons of the glorious Trinity: in God the Father as our covenanted God and portion, in God the Son as our Saviour and Redeemer, and in God the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Sanctifier (Psalm 43:4; Romans 5:11).
A. 2. In the attributes and perfections of God, particularly in His goodness, mercy, wisdom, might, immutability, and faithfulness, as being all in confederacy with us and engaged to promote our well-being and happiness (Psalm 104:24; Psalm 73:25-26; Psalm 48:14; Habakkuk 3:17-18).
A. 3. We ought to rejoice in our Redeemer's love, His wonderful undertaking, and the glorious victories and purchase He has obtained for us (Philippians 3:3; Luke 1:47-51).
A. 4. We should rejoice in the ways of God, having our hearts lifted up in them, and enlarged both to run and to sing in the ways of the Lord, and to go about every commanded duty with pleasure (Acts 8:39; 2 Chronicles 17:6; Psalm 119:32; Psalm 138:5).

Q. Why should we come from the Lord's table in a humble frame?
A. Because we have manifold grounds for our humiliation before God at that time, when we consider:
1. Our vileness by sin, and what we deserve on that account. We have more reason to cry out than Mephibosheth had, when David promoted him to eat bread at his table and he asked, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon a dead dog such as I am?" (2 Samuel 9:8).
2. The defectiveness of our preparation for this solemn ordinance. Alas, our souls were not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary!
3. Our great shortcomings in the near approach we were making to a holy God; namely, that our hearts were not more deeply affected with the great sights presented to our view, and the glorious things put in our offer at the Lord`s table; that our dull affections were not more raised, our wavering minds more fixed, or our cold hearts more warmed when we were about such spiritual and heavenly work (2 Chronicles 30:18-19).
4. We are still exposed to many dangers, and surrounded by strong enemies who are never more busy and active than after we have been at the Lord's table, or admitted to nearness with God and especially when we consider our own weakness and insufficiency to grapple with them (Luke 22:31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-8).

Q. Why ought we to come from this holy ordinance in a watchful frame?
A. Because of the many evils, snares, and enemies that we are then in danger of; and therefore we must stand upon our guard and watch, particularly against these:
1. The malicious designs and devices of Satan, who is getting about seeking to rob us of any benefit we have gotten by this ordinance (Luke 22:31; Matthew 26:41; 2 John 8).
2 . We ought especially to watch against the workings of spiritual pride after this ordinance; for our wicked and deceitful hearts are most ready to be lifted up with the great favours and honour here conferred upon us.
3. We should guard against resting upon the sacrament, as if all our work were now done and our warfare accomplished. No, we are still in a military state, and may expect new assaults from our spiritual enemies; we have still the good fight of faith to fight and the work of salvation to work out, which must be done with a constant holy fear and trembling (Song of Solomon 3:7-8, Philippians 2:12).
4. We must watch against the levity and wanderings of our hearts that are prone soon to divert from the work we have been about, and study to keep them close in meditation upon a crucified Christ and the great sights which we saw at the communion table.
5. We should watch against vain and frothy discourse and the snares of company after this ordinance; for hereby many have lost that sweet relish of the things of God which they have had upon their spirits. For this reason it is much safer for communicants to retire for secret meditations, prayer, and praise after this solemn work than to be in the best of company.
6. We should watch against the inroads of worldly cares and
encumbrances, that they be not allowed suddenly to rush in upon us and rob us of the spiritual frame and comforts with which we have been privileged in this ordinance. We ought not hastily to return to our worldly business after a sacrament, but by degrees, and that with great tenderness, care, and circumspection, resolving that Christ should have the throne of the heart and that the world be kept at the footstall.
7. We should carefully guard against all temptations to passion and rash anger, and study to be meek and quiet under provocations; for if we give way to the disorders and tumultuous passions of our hearts, the Holy Spirit will be grieved and provoked to withdraw from us.
8. We should watch against sloth and formality in duty, and be endeavouring always to stir ourselves up to liveliness and spirituality in all our performances.
9. We must watch against relying on our own strength in performing duty, and study to keep ourselves constantly depending upon Christ as our Head of influences, looking to Him for quickening and strength.

To be continued

News of the Fellowship

On July 17th. we were able to give thanks for the birth of Samuel Lewis. The Service was conducted by his father our Pastor. Family and friends were present on this occasion after which there followed refreshments in the Church Hall.

Door to door visiting continues in Fordingbridge on a monthly basis. We are delighted at the number of Bibles and Gospel tracts which have been received in that town.

Also, in Ringwood each month we hold an open-air Service in which our Pastor proclaims the Word of God and Christian literature is distributed.

The number of schools which our Minister is able to visit in the New Forest area has greatly increased. We are delighted with the demand for Bibles and other Christian literature in this 400th. Anniversary year of the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible