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Avoiding two extremes
April 2012
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Avoiding two extremes

ET COMMENT Avoiding two extremes Maximalism is a trend in the arts that finds its counterpart in some Reformed preaching today. The word can be used to describe the erroneous belief that every time any portion of Scripture is expounded, the gospel is being proclaimed.    Such a belief is incorrect, since texts like Galatians 3:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 show us clearly that the gospel is a distinct message within Scripture and is not merely to be equated with the systematic exposition of Scripture.     Blurred distinction The maximalist approach, in effect, obscures the gospel message and blurs the distinction between preaching the gospel to...

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Fresh, passionate and urgent prayer
March 2012
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Fresh, passionate and urgent prayer

Fresh, passionate and urgent prayer In Acts 4, the Christians are living in a fresh experience of Christ. Some have seen the risen Lord and the day of Pentecost is fresh in their minds.     Most are recent converts, ‘first generation’ Christians. Their lives have been freshly and wonderfully transformed by a living and active God. A remarkable miracle has taken place at the beautiful gate of the temple.     The wonder of the gospel is fresh and burning in their hearts and they felt passionately that nothing should hinder the spread of the gospel, not even the formidable persecution and threats of the Jewish...

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‘Not … apart from your Father’
February 2012
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‘Not … apart from your Father’

‘Not … apart from your Father’ This phrase in Matthew 10:29 — ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’ — teaches that the Lord is closely involved in all of our lives.     He is active, as Jesus says, even in the seemingly meaningless death of a sparrow, probably alluding to Amos 3:5 — ‘Will a bird fall on the earth without a fowler?’ But the context here is the awesome one of God’s judgement on Israel and the fear of God.     Awe Providence should indeed fill us with...

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A new year’s resolution from the fall of Babylon
January 2012
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A new year’s resolution from the fall of Babylon

‘Babylon’ in the Bible is a symbol of the apostate community with false religion at its heart. Priesthood and ceremonies were not add-ons to Chaldean society, but permeated it. Medieval society replicated this pagan alliance, except that the priesthood and ceremonies had a Christian veneer. Such a union is still found in many states today and Revelation 18, often entitled ‘The fall of Babylon’, has a very modern ring. How does God view Babylon? The angel from heaven cries, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every...

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RPCNA Synod
October 2011
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RPCNA Synod

RPCNA Synod The 180th synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) met at Indiana Wesleyan University from 28 June-1 July this year.     Ruling elder, Steve McMahon (Midwest presbytery), was nominated as moderator and the Monday evening began with a gripping sermon from Matthew 16, entitled, ‘I will build my church’, given by Dr Jerry O’Neill.     The members then took time to remember some of the pastors who had died in the past year. Drs D. Carson, K. Hoffman and C. Chao were among them.     Tuesday began with a sermon from this writer on Colossians 1, followed by an extensive...

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How much should I give to mission?
September 2011
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How much should I give to mission?

ET Comment How much should I give to mission? In the ancient world the followers of the Babylonian, Greek and Roman religions gave one tenth of their income to their religions. In the Old Testament even before the giving of the law (Exodus 20), Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) and, under Moses, tithing was affirmed by God in the old covenant. There is, therefore, an argument for saying that the least giving taught in the Bible is one tenth of a person’s income. And the challenge is: how can we as Christians give less than a tenth? Inventory Can I suggest a...

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Sending missionaries costs money
August 2011
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Sending missionaries costs money

ET COMMENT Sending missionaries costs money Our Lord Jesus Christ, before his ascension into heaven, said to his disciples (and that includes us as well) — ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’. Obedience to this command calls for money as well as man power. It takes money to get dedicated people to the mission field, and yet more money to keep them there, and also to provide the tools that they need to do the job. Faithful stewardship of time, talent and money are called for, if the work of God around the world is to move forward. As...

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Celebrating superiority
July 2011
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Celebrating superiority

ET COMMENT Celebrating superiority Have you ever noticed that the sins you hate most may just be the sins closest to your heart? I hate the sin of envy, and I think I hate it so much because it is so often very near to me, just waiting to strike, to cause me to mourn when I ought to rejoice or rejoice when I ought to mourn.     I recently began reading Assist me to proclaim, John Tyson’s biography of Charles Wesley, and was challenged with these words: ‘Charles had a meekness and unfeigned humility about him that was remarkable and attractive. His sermon editor...

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