Not even viruses occur outside of the providence of God
Regarding the national and indeed worldwide calamity of the coronavirus, this pandemic must be viewed as a call to the nation to humble itself before the Trinitarian God who controls the advent of all diseases. We must as a people cry out to the Lord in prayer, for He is able to deliver us, both on an individual and a national level.
Believers in Christ experience God’s special protection in their physical and material affairs, as well as in matters of the soul. This is clearly taught in Matthew 6:33, and in Psalm 91:1 we are told that believers
“dwell in the secret place of the most High … (and) abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.
The ‘secret place’ and the shadow’ speak of the special protection which the Lord is able to grant to those who honour Him even in times of common calamity. This of course is not to say that Christians will not contract diseases or suffer the negative effects of a widespread affliction along with all other people – we all live in the same fallen world – but the difference is that believers always remain under God’s special providential care. This gives them a security and a peace of mind which those outside of God’s kingdom simply do not possess.
The Bible deals specifically with the issue of plagues and nationwide medical emergencies, for example in Leviticus 26:15-16, and Deuteronomy 28:15, 21-22. These passages teach us that if a nation carries on ignoring of God’s laws, He will withdraw His protecting hand in respect of that nation’s health and general medical well-being; He will also remove from a people who reject Him in their economic prosperity. So the Bible establishes a distinct connection between common calamities such as epidemics and national righteousness.
Major outbreaks of disease are not a judgement upon individuals, and anyone may become a victim of them, but they are a warning to nations to seek the face of the God who controls all men’s circumstances. How we need in this nation to humble ourselves before the one true God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, because there are many aspects of our national life which are an offence to God.
Yes of course, in the midst of an epidemic we care for the sick and the vulnerable, and must take all the necessary medical precautions, but we must above all else seek the Lord Jesus Christ, and cry out for mercy as a nation which has failed to honour God.
Dealing with sickness was a major factor in the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. He clearly taught that His healing of a variety of medical conditions represented the need for all to be healed from the plague of sin. He thus declared when healing a paralysed man,
“That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, he saith to the sick of the palsy … Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” (Mark 2:10–11).
So a nation afflicted by plague and sickness is a nation which needs to examine its relationship to the holy God and to come in repentance and faith to the only Saviour of men, the Lord Jesus Christ, He who is well able to remove the coronavirus from a humbled people who seek Him.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul … Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:2–3).
Pastor Peter Simpson
(Penn Free Methodist Church and CW Committee Member)
The CRE (Christian Resources Exhibition) took place at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey between 15th and 17th October, 2019 and the Lord mightily blessed and answered prayer as those manning the stall had to stand for 8 hours or more each day in order to deal with a steady stream of enquirers.
Many people visited the stall and appreciated the vast array of literature on display, including Gospel tracts and pamphlets written by Bishop J.C. Ryle (the first Protestant Bishop of Liverpool) and many of the old Divines. The stall was adorned with banners portraying Huss (on the left), Luther (in the centre) and Tyndale (on the right), which created much comment. 300 British Church Newspapers were distributed, together with 300 calendars (with Gospel texts) and 300 Christian Watch newsletters, incorporating application forms to join with us. The leaflet — ‘D-day and the Providence of God’ — written by Christian Watch Committee Member, Rev. Peter Simpson, attracted considerable interest.
There was — as there always will be — many who call themselves Christian, who clearly have little understanding of the things of God but, nevertheless, the banner of the Lord was lifted up to His honour and glory and we give Him all the praise.
1 John 1:7
There’s a painful truth that glares out to us from this beautiful text and that is this – sin must be cleansed. But not just any old sin, it is our personal sin that needs to be cleansed. The blood cleanses “us” from all sin! Since our sin needs to be cleansed, it must, therefore, be filthy and polluted, but more than that, without this cleansing we are left filthy and polluted. It’s a painful picture, isn’t it?
There is a tendency today to forget just how horribly wretched sin is. We’ve dulled our spiritual senses so much that we cease to see sin as being what the Bible says it is, “exceeding sinful” (Rom 7:13). What a choice of words! “Exceeding sinful.” God, wanting to call sin by the worst of words could have called it vile or wretched or any number of names, yet He chose to call it by its own name “sin”. Literally, sin is heinous beyond all measure. When a person begins to see how ruinous and awful sin is and at the same time to see just how holy God is, it is then that they begin to wonder whether or not they, as polluted sinners, could ever meet the all-holy God in peace. It is only when we see these two things – our utter pollution by sin and the absolute holiness of God – that the Gospel begins to make any sense. Indeed, unless we see these things we will have a very low notion of the Lord Jesus and His saving work. Furthermore, our life will not be filled with Gospel wonder and astonishment concerning Him.
Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at
peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
“Be at peace.” Such is the blessing God offers. Society at large knows nothing of this mercy. We live in a world of strife, envy, and hatred. On a personal level, how easy it is to be bowed down with worry. Practically every day we contend with stress and strain that make our very existence a burden. Responsibilities and duties press in upon us from every side. In every heart there is a need for an inner peace that will conquer the trials and tribulations of life. We urgently need a rest of soul that will comfort, a sustaining strength in the depths of the soul which nothing in this world can destroy. Such a peace is above rubies and worth more than gold.
Today’s text declares that this rest of soul and peace of mind come only from God Himself. “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.” Acquaint literally means “make profit.” It is always to our profit to get to know God. John the Baptist asserts that no one has seen God at any time. Only Christ can reveal Him and bestow His blessings on our hearts (John 1:18). In Christ, the God of peace takes up residence within our souls. He not only delivers us from the consequences of our sins, but grants us a rest that sustains and supports our souls amid the ever-changing patterns of our lives.
The proffered blessing of peace proclaims a promise for the future: “Thereby good shall come unto thee.” To be a Christian, to be acquainted with God, will not only profit us in this world but, best of all, in the world to come. Today we enjoy the presence of the God of peace amid the discordant sounds of this life. One day we will be with Christ and will dwell in the bliss of His presence in “the glory that shall be revealed” (1 Pet. 5:1).
There is but one thing in the world really
worth pursuing—the knowledge of God.
R. H. Benson
After two years at ExCel in Docklands, East London, the Christian Resources Exhibition returned to Sandown in Esher in October, 2017. We were privileged to have the opportunity to proclaim the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in literature, Bible distribution, childrens’ colouring books and Calendars for 2018 as well as displaying and distributing 10 Commandment posters and many other items of interest, relevant to the days in which we live. There was undoubtedly a greater hunger and thirst for the Word of God than we have experienced previously, and we give God all the glory.
The Christian Watch stall was also significantly busier than in previous years, enjoying continuous enquiries throughout the three days and we enjoyed many spiritual conversations. It was felt that we were an influence for good to those who engaged with us as many Christians today have real concerns as to the direction the Churches are going in and it was good to have the opportunity to encourage each other.
Our stall joined forces with the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council (a Council that looks after Martyrs’ Memorials throughout Sussex) and who have produced a roll of honour of those who suffered martyrdom for their faith and the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 banners were on display at the rear of the stall depicting John Hus, Martin Luther and William Tyndale and we give God thanks for the glorious Protestant Reformation and the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the Church door at Wittenberg on 31st October, 1517, which changed the course of world history.
The Lord was with us — watching over us — and we count it a privilege to stand for Him in the public arena.
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross.”
By Marcus Brockes (CW Committee Member)
held at the South of England Showground
on 8th – 10th June, 2017
In writing these reports about our presence at the Exhibitions, it is always essential to remember that our main aim is one of witness to our God and Saviour and to present the Gospel to as many as possible. Living, as we do, in a time when Biblical truth is largely trodden underfoot and the true Gospel distorted, not to say even despised, then the need for faithfully contending for the faith is even more necessary in our day. Therefore, the more of the population we can reach with the Word, based on personal testimony, is to be sought for. Well, we certainly seemed to achieve in a large measure this aim at Ardingly this year. Our stand was, happily due to a last minute (providential) re-arrangement, situated on a busy thoroughfare, almost opposite the entrance to a fairground where many with their children were headed. Consequently, we were able to offer a goodly amount of Christian literature to the passer-by; children’s books quickly ran out.
While some rejected the offer, quite a number responded politely and, even others, enthusiastically. Long conversations were had with a variety of people, some quite bizarre; such as a traditionally dressed Sikh woman who was amazed by some of the things she was told were in the Scriptures. She was quite astounded that God had, as is recorded in Genesis, sent a mist to water the earth. After a lengthy discussion, having arrived seemly full of her own false knowledge with which to put us right, she left quite challenged and thoughtful. Prayers, I hope, will be made for this very confused and mystically inclined lady.
‘Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.’
1 Peter 1.13
Here the apostle sets before us what should be the resolve of every Christian through grace – to guard the mind. There is in this evil day a constant, concerted attack upon the minds of God’s people. We are daily exposed to a brainwashing process. Radio, television, videos, the press and various publications are all instruments hijacked by our subtle enemy to reach our minds. The media constantly presents sin as acceptable in modern society. Drinking, adultery and unfaithfulness are presented as socially acceptable and the common norm. The unsavoury filth of the world should never be allowed to seep into or sully the mind of the Christian. He must gird up the loins of the mind, as the pilgrim on a journey girded up his robes with a girdle so that he might walk unhindered. So let us keep our garments unspotted from the world and gird our minds lest they get caught up and entangled in the philosophy and thinking of the worldling.
Paul speaks of “loins girt about with truth” (Eph. 6:14). Here is the mind girt and encircled with the Word of truth and hedged about with the power of truth. Feed your mind and soul on the manna of Christ in His Word. Keep your mind’s eye on Christ and it will not be able to fix itself on the world. Remember, loose thinking must inevitably lead to loose living.
Rev. R. J. Beggs,
Westpoint, Exeter on the 18 – 20 May, 2017
The attendance of Marcus Brockes and myself at the Devon Show this year was something of a first for Christian Watch. In previous years, we have exhibited and witnessed at CRE Exeter, Cornwall, Sandown, Birmingham, Manchester and London; while many years ago Northern Ireland was a chosen venue.
It was therefore a happy surprise to see so many visitors attend, especially so when considering the weather – heavy showers with intermittent sunshine. It is said that over 95,000 attended over the three days.
Faith without works is dead.
There is a faith that does not save. It is not even worthy of being called faith. It is but a counterfeit of true, saving faith in Christ. This counterfeit faith may be very orthodox in its doctrine. Indeed, it may be vociferous in its stand for the doctrines of the Bible. It can dot every i and cross every t. It loves theological hair-splitting and will make a man a heretic for a word. This false faith is very religious. It looks good. It sounds good. But in truth it is an evil thing. It has the stench of death about it, because when all is said and done, it simply does not work. A faith that does not produce good and holy works is a faith that is no better than what the devil has (James 2:19). Oh! let us take this personally and seriously. If your professed belief allows you to live comfortably in sin, if it does not work repentance and holiness within you, it is a dead faith. It is true that we are saved by faith without works. It is equally true that we are saved by a faith that works.
Does your faith work? Does it stir up your heart to do the will of God and to seek the welfare of men? If godly works are the evidence of saving faith, is there any evidence that you are saved? Now is the time to face this question, because a faith that does not work for God now will not work for you on the judgment day.
It is faith alone that justifies, but
the faith that justifies is not alone.
The Lord hath rejected thy confidences.
Proud flesh has no place in the work of God. That message is not a popular one nowadays, when even professed ministers of Christ have jumped on the humanistic bandwagon of self-love, self-esteem, self-expression, and self-gratification. However, it is still the message of God, and people desperately need to hear it.
The Lord rejects all confidence in the flesh for salvation. Some people have an easy confidence that it is well with their souls. They rest in carnal security. They fear no judgment, for they have never felt any great burden of sin. They have easy methods of dealing with guilt, ranging from denial, to vain excuses, to blaming someone else, to adopting just enough religion to salve their conscience. Such people may expressly state their dependence on their own good works. Or they may place their confidence in a “decision” that has never yielded a true heart relationship with Christ. In all these cases, unsaved people are confident of their soul’s salvation. To all such, today’s text comes as a thunderbolt: “The Lord hath rejected thy confidences.” If you would be truly confident of your salvation, you must come to the end of yourself and unreservedly cast yourself upon the merits of Christ. Only in and through Him have you access to and acceptance with God.