by JOSEPH IRONS
“Beware of men.” (Matthew 10:17)
This is the caution which the Son of God gave to His disciples, when He ministered among them on earth, and the Holy Ghost caused it to be penned, that the true Church of God might use it as a watchword to the end of time; and never since this caution dropped from the lips of Jesus, has it been needed than now; for men seem to vie with the prince of darkness who shall most effectually oppose the kingdom of Christ and the spiritual interests of His blood-bought family.
“Beware of men!” – Not merely of profane men, open infidels; but little caution is necessary respecting them, because “the show of their countenance does witness against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom – they hide it not;” (Isa. 3:9) but the men who assume the profession of Christianity, without possessing its vital principle, are the men of whom the Saviour’s watchword is, “Beware!” – The men who put on the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof – whose carnal minds and carnal interests have always warred against the pure truth of God, and perverted the whole plan of salvation by lying fables and human traditions, seducing the souls of millions to utter destruction.
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
This wonderful passage is a part of Peter’s address to servants; and in his day nearly all servants were slaves. Peter begins at the 18th verse: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” If we are in a lowly condition of life, we shall find our best comfort in thinking of the lowly Saviour bearing our sins in all patience and submission.
By: Thomas Watson
“For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not to bring to nought things that are; That no flesh should glory in His presence” I Corinthians 1:26-29.
Without this effectual call – there is no going to Heaven!
This effectual call, is a gracious call. It is the fruit and product of free grace! That God should call some – and not others; that some should be taken – and others left; that one should be called who is of a more wicked disposition – while another of a sweeter temper, is rejected. Here is free grace! That the poor should be rich in faith, heirs of a kingdom (James 2:5), and the nobles and great ones of the world for the most part rejected; this is free and rich grace! “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight” Matthew 11:26.
That under the same sermon one should be effectually wrought upon – while another is no more moved than a dead man with the sound of music; that one should hear the Spirit’s voice in the Word – while another does not hear it; that one should be softened and moistened with the influence of Heaven – while another, like Gideon’s dry fleece, has no dew upon him; behold here distinguishing, sovereign grace!
What is the cause of this – but the free grace of God! It is all enamelled and interwoven with free grace! Those who are monuments of God’s mercies – will be trumpets of His praise. “That no flesh should glory in His presence” I Corinthians 1:29.
By Ian Henderson (C.W. Vice-Chairman)
Edited from an address given at the High Leigh Bible Conference, 2016
The Word of God states – in Jude v 3 – to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” or – in other words – “to engage in the battle.”
It is a plain fact that the Protestant Reformed faith is under threat today as never before – it is under threat from various sources – including atheism, Islam, Ecumenism and Romanism.
Sadly, many Ministers today choose to take a neutral stance on virtually every issue – presumably so that they don’t offend others or jeopardise their own positions. But the Word of God is very clear – and the Lord Jesus Christ did not preach to please all His hearers – the disciples did not preach to please all their hearers. They preached so that men and women could hear the good news of the Gospel and seek the Lord in repentance – and if people were offended (and many of the religious leaders were) – so be it.
Why is the Church not active today? Is it because God’s people are not engaged in the battle?
How many times have you heard prayers offered, prayers that bemoan the state of our nation? And yet we must ask ourselves some pertinent questions:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Christ Himself is to be the single object of our attention in the spiritual race which we pursue. The word looking comes from a verb which means “to look away from.” It denotes the idea of viewing with undivided, fixed, earnest attention.
This is the look of total dependence upon Christ for all we need as we run. Christ is the source of all our requirements. Thus the verse can be read, “Looking into Jesus”—a deep, penetrating look, filling our minds with all that Christ is, constantly communing with Him and drawing out of Him strength for the course.
To run “looking into Jesus” also indicates total obedience. In the context, Paul reminds us that there is a race set before us (v. 1). We must fix our purpose on that race and allow nothing to divert our attention. That is possible only as we are taken up with the Lord. What obedience is generated in us as we keep our eyes on Him! You see, He ran His race with full commitment to the Father. Nothing could prevail upon Him to keep Him from doing the Father’s will. As He obeyed because He loved His Father, so love for Christ alone will stir up our hearts to run the race set before us. The more we love Christ, the more we will lay aside those things which would hinder us—our besetting sins, which are our inward corruptions, and the things of the world, the weights that would hold us back.
Furthermore, this “looking unto Jesus” refers to total steadfastness in our running. We should want to run well and complete the race. Christ did so. He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” The word author also means “prince” or “captain,” denoting a leader. He has gone before us; so He has covered the ground already. What an example of steadfastness! Thus “let us run with patience” (v. 1).
Rev. John Greer
Too much occupied with our work, we
can forget our Master—it is possible to
have the hands full and the heart empty.
By Horatius Bonar
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17
What condemnation do these words pronounce upon the shallow, meagre religion so common among us – making us feel that hardly any description of its professors could be more exaggerated or unreal, than that of being “new creatures.”
Take yon member of the church. He wears the garb and bears the name of Christ. He is a fair average specimen of a large class. He has the profession of being a Christian; yet…
– he is fond of the world;
– he grasps at its gold;
– he loves its fashionable gaiety;
– he reads its novels;
– he frequents its haunts of amusement;
– he enjoys its company;
– he relishes its foolish talking and jesting.
Is he “a new creature” in Christ Jesus?
Is it possible that, with …
– so much worldliness,
– so much selfishness,
– so much self-indulgence,
– so much pleasing of the flesh,
From Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)
Christ became incarnate or, which is the same thing, became man to put Himself in a capacity for working out our redemption. For though Christ as God was infinitely sufficient for the work, yet to His being in an immediate capacity for it, it was needful that He should not only be God, but man. If Christ had remained only in the divine nature, He would not have been in a capacity to have obtained our salvation; not from any imperfection of the divine nature, but by reason of its absolute and infinite perfection: for Christ, merely as God, was not capable either of that obedience or suffering that was needful.
The divine nature is not capable of suffering; for it is infinitely above all suffering. Neither is it capable of obedience to that law which was given to man. It is as impossible that One, who is only God, should obey the law that was given to man, as it is that He should suffer man’s punishment.
And it was necessary not only that Christ should take upon him a created nature, but that He should take upon Him our nature. It would not have sufficed for Christ to have become an angel, and to have obeyed and suffered in the angelic nature. But it was necessary that He should become a man, upon three accounts:
By: J. C. Philpot
Written in 1857 when the Revised Version was being contemplated.
We take this opportunity to express our opinion upon a question much agitated of late – whether it would be desirable to have a new (or at least a revised) translation of the Scriptures. We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved, as, for instance, “love” for “charity” all through I Corinthians 13; but we deprecate any alteration as a measure that, for the smallest sprinkling of good, would deluge us with a flood of evil. The following are our reasons:
- Who are to undertake it? Into whose hands would the revision fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of truth to give us a mutilated false Bible! Of course, they must be learned men, great critics, scholars, and divines. But these are notoriously either Puseyites or Neologians – in other words, deeply tainted with either popery or infidelity. Where are there learned men sound in the truth, not to say alive unto God, who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous ungodly persons, spiritually translate a book written by the blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men, such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.
- Again, it would unsettle the minds of thousands as to which was the Word of God, the old translation or the new. What a door it would open for the workings of infidelity, or the temptations of Satan! What a gloom, too, it would cast over the minds of many of God’s saints, to have those passages which had been applied to their souls translated in a different way, and how it would seem to shake all their experience of the power and preciousness of God’s Word!
- But besides this, there would be two Bibles spread through the land, the old and the new, and what confusion would this create in almost every place! At present, all sects and denominations agree in acknowledging our present version as the standard of appeal. Nothing settles disputes so soon as when the contending parties have confidence in the same umpire and are willing to abide by his decision. But this judge of all disputes, this umpire of all controversy, would cease to be the looser of strife if the present acknowledged authority were put an end to by a rival.
- Again, if the revision and re-translation were once to begin, where would it end? It is good to let well alone, as it is easier to mar than mend. The Socinianising Neologian would blot out “God” in I Timothy 3:16 and strike out I John 5:7-8, as an interpolation. The Puseyites would mend it to suit Tractarian views. He would read “priest” where we now read “elder” and put “penance” in the place of “repentance.”
One sat on the throne.
The throne of heaven is not vacant. Nor is it impotent. It is occupied by our God and Father, who omnipotently controls all the affairs of angels, demons, men, and events according to His own sovereign purpose.
This is what John said and what he wanted his readers to grasp. Those early Christians appear to have been somewhat troubled by all that the throne of the Caesars meant. At times it must have appeared to them as if that idolatrous, persecuting throne was supreme and unchallengeable. John’s message was that there is a throne above every human throne from which God sovereignly dispenses His purpose.
Forty-seven times in this book John uses the word throne. Clearly it is something of supreme importance to God’s people. Surrounded by the apparently dominant power of sin and Satan, we need to have John’s vision of our God upon His throne. He is doing His will. He has a purpose of grace in the world through the gospel. He has a purpose of government whereby He will by powerful interventions in the natural world show His sovereign authority. Of course, ultimately His purpose is a purpose of glory that will be completed only when “in the dispensation of the fulness of times he [gathers] together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:10).
We desperately need to have this vision of the total sovereignty of God. This is no mere academic truth. Nor is it only a theological position of those called Calvinists. It is a truth that is vital to inspire Christians with confidence and courage. Having once gazed on the throne of God, will we ever be intimidated by any show of the power of man? Will we ever despair to pray and preach? Behold the throne set in heaven today, and you will walk on earth in the light of its purity and power.
God’s ways are behind the scenes, but He moves
all the scenes which He is behind.
J. N. Darby
By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member
Part 1 (of 3)
The enemy is at the gates
As I write, a Roman Catholic Cardinal has, after almost five centuries and with full permission of Her Majesty the Queen of England, engaged in a vespers service in the very chapel at Hampton Court where Henry VIII worshipped. The same Henry who, in the wonderful providence of God, dismissed Cardinal Wolsey from office as his advisor and confidant and repudiated the Pope of Rome and all his ways. Some would say that this was merely in a fit of pique because he desired a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, however, as we study the life of our subject, William Tyndale, we shall see that he had more than a little influence in this breach with Papal authority, by the grace of Him who turneth the heart of Kings; whithersoever He will (see Proverbs 21:1).
This then is surely a fitting time to remind ourselves of the goodness of God in raising up such a one as William Tyndale, now that we appear to have come to a period in our contemporary history when, once more, the darkness of ignorance, superstition and false religion threatens to envelop us again.
That the Authorised Version of the Bible, referred to by some as the King James Bible, has been that great work which has had more influence upon the religious life of this nation than any other translation of the Word of God, is surely a matter beyond dispute. This nation owes much to the work of this one man who, in his service for Christ and in the strength of His grace, brought back to this nation the pure Word of God and so laid the foundation for the prosperity of its people all over the British Empire.
It is also a generally accepted fact that 80 % (some would claim 90%) of the King James Bible rests on the original translating work of William Tyndale from 1525 – 1535.