Author Archive

February 2014

Written by Steven Black on 23/11/2015. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, February 2014

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January 2014

Written by Steven Black on 20/11/2015. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, January 2014

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CONSOLATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE

Written by Steven Black on 20/11/2015. Posted in Articles

IN TRIBULATION

By Samuel Rutherford

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John16:33

Our tender, loving, and gracious Lord well knew what feeble ones He had to deal with. He knew from painful experience what tribulation was, for He was a “Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief,” reproached and despised by the very rabble, set at nought by the rulers, and put to the most shameful and painful death that malice then knew. He, therefore, tells His disciples, in the most gentle manner, what they must expect. But He prefaces it with consolation – “In Me ye might have peace.”

Were we not of the earth earthy, we should not want anything besides the first declaration to keep the mind stayed and calm under the most severe trials; and, when trials are at a distance, we are ready to think this is alone sufficient. But our dear Captain well knew how much we should want to keep our head above water when the enemy comes in like a flood, therefore He kindly provides all necessary consolation.

Our kind and tender Redeemer held a long discourse with His poor, disconsolate disciples just before He was betrayed into the hands of sinners, the scope of which seems to be to establish their minds in the belief of His Godhead (or equality and oneness with the Father), as is explained by the context. He well knew the accursed death He was about to die would shake their confidence, and that, when His body was entombed, they would be ready to think all was over, as is plain some of them did, notwithstanding all His instructions. “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel;” and, when they heard of His resurrection, instead of receiving the tidings with glad expectation, they could scarcely credit what they heard, but were astonished at the report the women gave of not finding His body, etc., as you may read in Luke 24:21, and the following verses. But, though they did not understand His doctrine until He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scripture, then the belief of this glorious mystery greatly strengthened them for future trials. In Him, as the incarnate God, they then had peace.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus is emphatically styled “our peace” in Ephesians 2:14,15: “For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” Faith, appropriating faith, brings that peace into the conscience that all the tumults of the world cannot disturb when it is in lively exercise; but, if it is at a low ebb, and billow after billow rise, fear sometimes makes headway against the soul, and the child of God finds it hard work to hold up his head with any degree of cheerfulness. But we must remember that we are in an enemy’s country, and, therefore, must expect molestation.

“In the world ye shall have tribulation.” Our Captain met with as much tribulation from the world as any private soldier – yea, as much as all put together ever met with, for “in all their afflictions He was afflicted;” and the cruel treatment any of His members now meet with touches Him. This appears plain from Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.”

I do not think this refers merely to those who nailed Him to the cross literally, and thrust the spear into His side, but to those who have pieced or wounded the members of His mystical body. There is not a scoff, a jeer, or a reproach, that is thrown at a member of His, but Jesus feels it as the Head. He looks with pity and tenderness upon His suffering family, and will cause every trial to work for good. If tribulation were not better, infinitely better, than ease, our gracious God would not suffer us to be exercised therewith.

When our first parents sinned, and exposed themselves and all their posterity to the everlasting wrath and fiery indignation of a holy God, though our most merciful and gracious God found a Ransom, that a certain number should be delivered from going down into the pit, yet He thus declares, “I will put enmity… between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This has ever been the case since the fall of Adam.

To multiply Scripture proofs would be endless and altogether needless, as no attentive reader of the Scriptures can be ignorant that this has ever been the case. This is a cross every renewed soul must carry. “If any man will be My disciple, let him take up his cross and follow Me.” Shall mortal man complain at this? “We are by nature children of wrath, even as others.” We can give no reason why the Lord set His love upon us more than others; and if we suffer from the fall only in this life, shall we complain? Do not our daily offences call for the rod of affliction? And if our Father only deals with us as a wise and tender parent, shall we complain? Did we not once feel enmity in our hearts against God and the ways of God? And is this slain, and love put in its place? Oh, what reason have we to be thankful that we were not left in the ruins of the fall to be persecutors, instead of being persecuted! Seeing it is declared with a yea that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” and in the text under consideration, that “in the world ye shall have tribulation,” it is but striving against the immutable decrees of God to strive to avoid it.

We should indeed be careful that we give our adversaries no just occasion to speak reproachfully, for if we take this patiently, it is but reasonable, as we are then only buffeted for our faults, and can by no means repair the injury we do to the cause of truth. But if we be wrongfully reproached, we may rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, and the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon us (I Peter 4:14). We have not only the promise of peace in Christ to bear up our minds under the tribulations of the way, but we have also an assurance that our enemies are already conquered: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Though a troop may for a little season overcome us, yet we shall at last overcome through the Captain of our salvation – yea and be more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Victory! Victory!

Old Sampford, April 13th, 1819

November/December 2013

Written by Steven Black on 19/11/2015. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, November/December 2013

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Good Tidings from Heaven

Written by Steven Black on 06/11/2015. Posted in Articles

What about your Soul ?

Mark 8 :36&37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Ezekiel 18:20 “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder

Why you’re here and where you’re going

When your lease of time runs out?

Maybe you’ve been far too busy

Trying hard to reach your goal;

Would you let me ask you kindly,

Have you thought about your Soul?

 

You may reach the highest portals,

And your dreams may all come true

Wealth and fame may be your portion,

And success may shine on you.

All your friends may sing your praises,

Not a care on you may roll:

What about the great tomorrow-

Have you thought about your Soul?

 

Don’t forget your days are numbered,

Though you may be riding high;

But, like all of us poor mortals,

Someday you’ll just up and die.

Your success and fame and glory

Won’t be worth the bell they toll;

Let me ask you just one question,

Have you thought about your Soul?

 

IF you’ve never thought it over,

Spend a little time today;

There is nothing more important

That will come your way

Than the joys of sins forgiven,

And to know you’ve been made whole.

In the Name of Christ, the Saviour,

Have you thought about your Soul?

 

Leviticus 17:11 “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the Soul

Isaiah 55:3 “Incline your ear and, and come unto ME: hear and your Soul shall

live”

Personal Holiness

Written by Steven Black on 06/11/2015. Posted in Articles

By A.W. Pink

By our fall in Adam we not only lost the favour of God but also the purity of our nature and therefore we need to be both reconciled to God and renewed in our inner man, for without personal holiness “no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). “As He which hath called you is holy; so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behaviour); because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15,16). God’s nature is such that unless we be sanctified there can be no intercourse between Him and us. But can persons be sinful and holy at one and the same time? Genuine Christians discover so much carnality, filth, and vileness in themselves that they find it almost impossible to be assured they are holy. Nor is this difficulty solved, as in justification, by recognising that though completely unholy in ourselves we are holy in Christ, for Scripture teaches that those who are sanctified by God are holy in themselves, though the evil nature has not been removed from them.

None but “the pure in heart” will ever “see God” (Matthew 5:8). There must be that renovation of soul whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. There must be that impartial compliance with the revealed will of God and abstinence from evil, which issues from faith and love. There must be that directing of all our actions to the glory of God, by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel. There must be a spirit of holiness working within the believer’s heart so as to sanctify his outward actions if they are to be acceptable unto Him in whom “there is no darkness”. True, there is perfect holiness in Christ for the believer, but there must also be a holy nature received from him. There are some who appear to delight in the imputed obedience of Christ who make little or no concern about personal holiness. They have much to say about being arrayed in “the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10), who give no evidence that they “are clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5) or that they have “put on…bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another” (Col. 3:12 -13).

How many there are today who suppose that if they have trusted in Christ all is sure to be well with them at the last even though they are not personally holy. Under the pretence of honouring faith, Satan, as an angel of light, has deceived and is now deceiving multitudes of souls. When their “faith” is examined and tested, what is it worth? Nothing at all so far as insuring an entrance into Heaven is concerned; it is a powerless, lifeless, fruitless thing. The faith of God’s elect is unto “the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Titus 1:1). It is a faith which purifieth the heart (Acts 15:9), and it grieves over all impurity. It is a faith which produces an unquestioning obedience (Heb. 11:8). They therefore do but delude themselves who suppose they are daily drawing nearer to Heaven while they are following those courses which lead only to Hell. He who thinks to come to the enjoyment of God without being personally holy, makes Him out to be an unholy God, and puts the highest indignity upon Him. The genuiness of saving faith is only proved as it bears the blossoms of experimental godliness and the fruits of true piety.

In Christ, God has set before His people that standard of moral excellence which He requires them to aim and strive after. In His life we behold a glorious representation in our own nature of the walk of obedience, which He demands of us. Christ conformed Himself to us by His abasing incarnation, how reasonable therefore it is that we should conform ourselves to Him in the way of obedience and sanctification. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). He came as near to us as was possible for Him to do, how reasonable then is it that we should endeavour to come as near as it is possible for us to do. “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me” (Matthew 11:29). If “even Christ pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3), how reasonable is it that we should be required to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24), for without so doing we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27). If we are to be conformed to Christ in glory how necessary that we first be conformed to Him in holiness: “he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked:” (1 John 2:6). “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19); let him either put on the life of Christ or drop the name of Christ.

_________________________________

Report on the Work of Christian Watch

Written by Steven Black on 05/11/2015. Posted in Audio and Video, Public Meetings

Mr. I. Henderson (Vice Chairman)

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CHRISTIAN WATCH PUBLIC MEETING 2015

Written by Steven Black on 05/11/2015. Posted in Audio and Video, Public Meetings

BRIGHTON 30th OCTOBER 2015

‘The Spiritual State of the Nation – Is There a Remedy?’

Pastor James Zenker (Crown College UK)

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Christian Watch Annual Meeting 2014

Written by Steven Black on 03/10/2014. Posted in Audio and Video

Held on Friday 3rd October, 2014 at Tamworth Road Baptist Chapel, Croydon

Reading: Matthew 5:1-20

Address by: The Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Barry Shucksmith

“Divine Law for Daily Living”

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Christians sidelining the Creator?

Written by Steven Black on 25/07/2014. Posted in Articles, Creation

by Philip Bell and Dominic Statham1

The primacy of God is unequivocally set forth in the first chapter of Genesis, where the word, “God” or equivalents are used forty times.

 

If you spent a couple of hours in the centre of your local town or city, asking passers-by, ‘How did the Earth begin?’ and, ‘Where did life come from?’ you would receive a variety of responses, no doubt. Among those prepared to give a serious answer, many would confidently claim that it was through some sort of evolutionary process—though if you pressed them further they would be very hazy on the details! What is sad, but true, is that few people these days would assert unashamedly,
In the beginning, God created …

If you think about it, the difference between these two views is in a Person. Either, everything exists (and that includes you and me) through a wholly unknown process—unguided evolution—or through a holy unknown process—the act of God in Creation.2 From this it follows that any fudging on the Genesis account of Creation, where the plain meaning of the words is avoided, is in danger of distancing God the Creator from what He has made.

God first

The doctrine of Creation begins with God—His name is among the very first few words of the Bible. This being the case, the true Christian (who seeks wholly to love God; see Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:30) should be immediately suspicious of any theology of Creation that starts with man rather than God; the opinions of fallible men instead of the Word of the omniscient God.

God’s qualities, His various attributes and characteristics are clearly seen through the things He has made; so says the Apostle Paul (Rom. 1:20). A consideration of Creation leads to the inescapable conclusion that the One responsible is a God of immense power, unfathomable knowledge and amazing benevolence—He is a great God and a good God! To deny this is inexcusable, indeed foolish (Psalm 53:1). With this in mind, Christians should be wary of any scheme, however well-intentioned or plausible it might appear, where the Bible’s teaching merely serves as an afterthought; if, for instance, it is relegated to a marginal note, with man’s speculations occupying pride of place. Rather, our doctrine of Creation must, first and foremost, exalt God as the Creator.

God at the centre

When asked, “Which is the greatest commandment?”, Jesus replied:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
<The Bible is unashamedly God-centred. We were made for His glory (Isaiah 43:7); He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3); we are to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33); and pray above all that His name would be hallowed (Matthew 6:9). In Scripture, the primacy of God is unequivocally set forth from the first chapter of Genesis, where the word, ‘God’ or equivalent3 is used forty times. God created (v. 1), God said (v. 3), God saw (v. 4), God separated (v. 4), God called (v. 5), God made (v. 7) and God blessed (v. 28). So striking is this, that it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Genesis 1 is not so much an account of the Creation as it is an account of God the Creator. The many compromise views of Genesis 1 tend to push God into the background, or else He is barely in view at all. This is particularly true of ‘theistic evolution, which maintains that natural processes are sufficient to bring forth people. Rather, the text of this divine prologue emphatically keeps God in the foreground, indeed at the very centre of all that is being described.

The Bible’s uncompromising emphasis on God’s centrality is for good reason: ever since the Fall, man has been drawn towards idolatry, the worship of that which has been created rather than the Creator. It follows from this that any teaching that detracts from the glory of God in creation will tend to promote idolatry—including creation stories such as the big bang and Darwinian evolution which focus upon the power of ‘Nature’ rather than the power of God.

According to the Bible, God created the universe in all its vastness and complexity simply through His Word. Since God is spirit (John 4:24) He obviously did not speak with a physical mouth; His word here is synonymous with His will. We might say that God willed the universe to be and it was (Revelation 4:11). He did not require billions of years to do this and nor did He need to use an evolutionary process of trial and error to get it right. Indeed, only a perfect, flawless creation, ‘right first time’ could possibly be worthy of the utterly transcendent God of the Bible.

The claim of some theistic evolutionists, that Darwinian evolution is elegant, thereby glorifying God, is a violation of common sense, if not bordering on blasphemy.
 

Survival of the fittest—an elegant process?

It is sometimes argued by theistic evolutionists that the Darwinian process is elegant and therefore points to the glory of God. For example, BioLogos founder Francis Collins opined,

“Seeking to populate this otherwise sterile universe with living creatures, God chose the elegant mechanism of evolution to create microbes, plants, and animals of all sorts. Most remarkably, God intentionally chose the same mechanism to give rise to special creatures who would have intelligence, a knowledge of right and wrong, free will, and a desire to seek fellowship with Him. . . this perspective makes it possible for the scientist-believer to be intellectually fulfilled and spiritually alive, both worshipping God and using the tools of science to uncover some of the awesome mysteries of His creation.”4

That Collins can believe such things boggles the mind. How could a process of natural selection, based on millions of years of death, disease and predation, ‘nature red in tooth and claw’, the elimination of the weak, and survival of only the fittest possibly be “elegant”? How can such a cruel, wasteful process involving such pain and suffering possibly glorify God? This point was not lost on Charles Darwin;5 indeed it is much emphasised by evolutionary apologists to this day, notably Richard Dawkins.

In a similar vein, Denis Alexander, Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, argues that billions of years are needed for planets to form and life to evolve:

“ … the universe needs to be this old … in order for elements such as carbon and oxygen, essential for life, to be formed … just as the heavier elements, the stars, and their orbiting planets need billions of years to come into being, so complex life needs billions of years in order to evolve. It takes about 3.8 billion years … to make a human being.”6

But what sort of god needs billions of years to achieve his purposes? Certainly not the God of the Bible. The Creator God of Genesis is unlimited and has total mastery over His creation. He can do all things and His purposes cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2). Nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27) and for Him all things are possible (Luke 1:37). Such is His sovereignty that even a sparrow will not fall to the ground unless he wills it (Matthew 10:29).

If it is accepted that God is not truly omnipotent one must wonder whether He really has the means to fulfil His promises. If He needed billions of years to create, how will He raise the billions of dead on the last day? Indeed, did He really, literally raise Christ? What did Jesus mean when He claimed to have received all power and authority? (Matthew 28:18). How can the Christian press forward without fear if his Lord has only limited power to sustain him? (Matthew 10:28).

Guardians of truth

The supreme manifestation of God is found in His Son who is His image (Colossians 1:15), the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3). As the perfect expression or Word of God, the Son flawlessly reflects God’s nature in all He is and all He does. It is therefore theologically inadmissible that the Son, through whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16), could produce anything that did not, in every way, testify to a God of boundless love, inexpressible beauty, matchless wisdom and limitless power. Indeed, were we to have beheld the original untainted creation we would, like the twenty-four elders of the fourth chapter of Revelation, surely find ourselves prostrate before heaven’s throne crying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things,” (Revelation 4:11).

Revelation 22:19 warns of the seriousness of people attempting to water down God’s prophetic word in that book, by “taking away from the words”. Indeed it is dangerous either to add to, or take from, any clear teaching of the Bible—it being the perfect revelation from Almighty God. The late Henry Morris (author of numerous creationist books) pointed out that this biblical warning concerns not merely the thoughts, but the very words, of Scripture; furthermore, that God is intent on guarding His Word against man’s attempts to violate it (see Psalm 12:6-7, 2 Peter 3:16).7

In these days of rampant compromise with evolution and other secular philosophies, the truth matters! God calls all Christians to stand up for biblical truth and to act as guardians of the faith (Jude 1:3). May He help each of us to be true to His Holy Word.

References and notes
  1. An expanded version of the lead article, It’s all about the Creator, in Prayer News, CMI (UK/Europe), July 2014. Return to text.
  2. Words in italics courtesy of AF Green, lecture at CMI’s Unmasking Fables, Promoting Truth conference, April 2013; subtitled DVDs will be available shortly. Return to text.
  3. That is the personal pronouns, His/He/Us/Our. Return to text.
  4. Collins, F., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, New York, 2006, p. 200–201. Return to text.
  5. Indeed, in a letter to his good friend, the botanist Joseph D. Hooker (13 July 1856), Charles Darwin wrote: “What a book a Devil’s Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature.” Return to text.
  6. Spencer, N. and Alexander, D., Rescuing Darwin: God and Evolution in Britain Today, Theos, 2009; theosthinktank.co.uk. Return to text.
  7. Morris, H., Diluting the Word of God, Days of Praise, www.icr.org, 3 March 2014. Return to text.

Source: Creation Ministries International