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Fear and Dread
Text Isaiah 30
Isaiah continues his prophecy to the wayward, backslidden nation of Israel, warning them of the consequences of their actions in rejecting their God. They were terrified. A large and powerful army is encamped on their borders, and that army is very hostile indeed. What were they to do?
Fear is an emotion that is common to mankind. It is defined as ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm.’ What does Isaiah teach Israel about fear that will help us too? Read more…
The Bare Naked Truth!
Text. Isaiah 20
Background and context: 711-713BC, Asdod rebelling against Assyria with the help and encouragement of Egypt, is crushed, as is foretold in Isa 14. Isaiah ordered by God to prophecy(to Judah) of Ashdod’s downfall and defeat.
1. Isaiah’s Method. v2
Isaiah is ordered by God to go about naked and barefoot. Purpose was to show to the people, that God was and is always faithful to his promises. This was a prophecy to be fulfilled before their eyes in a very short space of time. Isaiah 14:28 In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden. 29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. 30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. 31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times. 32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it. Isaiah was just to be unclad for 3 years. This is important, for Isaiah would make other prophecies, the fulfilment of some of these were 600 years away – but God would bring them to pass, just as surely. Read more…
Our Sabbath Duties
Text. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
What is THE PURPOSE OF THE SABBATH. Let’s see three simple statements, with help from the teachings of Heidelberg Catechism, Q103
1. The Sabbath Involves our Christian Duty. Read 1 Cor. 16:1-4.
Paul is urging these Corinthian believers to give to help those who are in need, specifically he is collecting an offering to help the poor widows at Jerusalem. See when this Christian duty is to be performed… Upon the first day of the week! Why?
- The day for the Christians to meet. Now there is a reason why this collection was to be taken on the first day of the week. It was then that the church met. It was the day that Jesus rose from the dead, but even before the resurrection the disciples of the Lord were meeting on the first day of the week. John 20:19 The day that the Christians meet, is the day that the Christians give!
- The first day is the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath is a CREATION ORDINANCE given not just to the Jews, but to all of mankind, for their blessing, their benefit and their wellbeing. To deny Christians the blessing of a Sabbath rest is to completely contradict God’s creative purpose, and to flout His will and purpose for man. But the first day of the week IS the CHRISTIAN SABBATH. Greek, κατα μιαν σαββατων literally, ‘on the first Sabbath.’- the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week.
- Performing Our Duties before the Lord is WORSHIP. The giving of our offerings to the Lord is PART OF OUR WORSHIP!
On the Lord’s Day the church has gathered together in the name of the Lord, and we sing His praises, we read His Word, we pray to Him, we proclaim His Word and we bring our offerings unto the Lord. We perform our Christian obligations before the Lord. Read more…
The Signs of the Promise
Text. Romans 4:11 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
The Bible is full of promises. What is the greatest of these promises, In fact the single promise, from which every other promise flows? It is this, “that God graciously grants us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life because of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross.” Now, not only has God given us this gracious promise but he has pointed us to it and stamped it with his seal of authority. That sign and seal is known in the church as the Sacraments.
1. The FUNCTION of the Sacraments. Read Genesis 17:1-14.
Why was Abram dependent upon God? ______________________________________ What was the OT sacrament that God gave Abraham? _________________What did it point to? ___________________________What did it assure Abraham was going to happen when God fulfilled his promise? _______________________What is the second Old Testament sacrament? ______________________
- The sacraments are SIGNS. God’s gift to us, to help us understand the Gospel.
- The sacraments are SEALS. They stamp God’s promises to us with us divine authority.
What are the promises that we observe when the sacraments are administered in Church?
Look at your wedding ring.
What promises did you make at your wedding? _________________________________________________
What does the ring signify and remind you of? _________________________________________________
When apart, what confidence does it give you? _________________________________________________
What has God given to us to give us this confidence in Him? The S____________________________________
2. The FOCUS of the Sacraments.
Faith is God’s gift to us, conveyed to us by the preaching of Christ in all the Scriptures, and applied to our hearts in conviction and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. So the sacraments point us to Jesus, and to Him alone. Away from ourselves, away from our subjective experiences, testimony etc, and to Christ and Calvary.
But why do you think the Heidelberg instructor is so insistent on teaching that there is only one sacrifice for sins?
3. The FINALITY of the Sacraments. Jesus only gave us two sacraments.
They are: B_________________ Matthew 28:19-20. and The L____________ S_______________. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
But may we not invent some extra sacraments?
Why do Christians not circumcise and celebrate the Passover? ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________. Here’s a clue to help: 1 Cor 5:6-8 ‘Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…’
H/C, Lord’s Day 25
66. What are the sacraments?
A. The sacraments are holy, visible signs and seals. They were instituted by God so that by their use he might the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel. And this is the promise: that God graciously grants us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life because of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross.
67. Are both the Word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation? A. Yes, indeed. The Holy Spirit teaches us in the gospel and assures us by the sacraments that our entire salvation rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for upon the cross.
68. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the new covenant? A. Two: baptism and the Lord’s supper.
Where Does FAITH Come from?
Text: Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
H/C 65. Q. Since then faith alone makes us share in Christ and all his benefits, where does this faith come from?
A. From the Holy Spirit, who works it in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and strengthens it by the use of the sacraments.
Faith (Saving faith) is a GIFT that God gives to us. Ephesians 2. So, let’s explore that idea a little more, by asking the question, ‘Where does faith come from, and what is the means by which God gives that faith to us?
1. Faith COMES.
We are not born with inherent faith. We do not inherit faith from our parents or our nationality or culture. We have NO faith in our unregenerate condition.
Faith comes ONLY as a gift. We cannot earn faith or, work it up, or deserve it.
Faith always COMES TO US, FROM OUTSIDE OURSELVES – note well the word used is passive, we do not pull it to us, – it is ‘pushed.’ Read more…
History is His Story
Text. Habakkuk 2:5-20
Habakkuk’s depth of understanding increases… History is all being determined, being enacted in accordance with God’s sovereign purpose and plan. Everything is moving towards a conclusion that has been predetermined. History is His Story. God is writing history before it happens. Read more…
Government to Help Protect Kids from Online Pornography
Some good news came from the UK government recently in the fight to protect our kids from online pornography.
A public consultation has been launched over plans to implement age checks on pornography websites. This follows a manifesto commitment that “all sites containing pornographic material” must check that users are over 18.
Here’s what they say:
”We need to stop children accessing material which is doing them harm.”
MP Karen Bradley – Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime
“Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults.” Baroness Shields – Minister for Internet Safety and Security
“As a matter of urgency we must prevent children having ready access to content rated over 18 as it can give them a warped view of sexual relationships.” Peter Wanless – NSPCC Chief Executive
How would it work?
It is expected the appointed regulator would have the power to force internet service providers to block sites that did not perform effective age checks and that providers who do not cooperate would be fined.
Age checking is used effectively by the online gambling industry. Options include confirmation of credit card ownership to checking a user’s details with the electoral register.
Although promising, it may be five years before we begin to see real results with this proposed legislation.
The World Wide Web launched in the early 1990s, so it is sad it has taken over 25 years to get to this point. As always, the responsibility remains on parents and guardians to teach and protect their kids when using the internet.
To learn more visit http://www.ProtectYourKids.org.uk