Thursday, July 21, 2016

Temporary Disciples

On May 29, 2016, Pastor Mark Fitzpatrick of Arann Reformed Baptist Church preached a sermon titled "Temporary Disciples" based on John 6:60-66.  I'm posting my notes of his sermon in light of the current political and social atmosphere of the United States.

Jesus Christ knows the difference between the outward profession of faith and the inward reality of faith.  Therefore, we should pray not to just appear to be children of God, but we should pray to be true believers indeed and that nothing that Christ says would be a stumbling block to us trusting in Him.  We should not use the Word of God as an excuse.   When we genuinely believe in Christ, we are submitting ourselves to His moral authority.  He is King of our soul and King of our life.  Yes, we sin, but God knows our heart.  The paradox is that sometimes true believers can look like unbelievers, and false believers can look like true believers. The Bible tests our faith and our love of Christ; it shows whether or not we truly believe.  The Word of God should judge us; we should not judge the Bible.  Christians believe and trust the Word that they know to be true.  Do we believe in the Jesus of Scripture as presented by Christ Himself?  The Christian life is a revelation of two things: (1) Revealing to us our own inability and (2) Revealing to us God's sovereign ability.  Faith is a remarkable gift of God.

Temporary Disciples:
  1. Claim the Words of Jesus are too difficult
  2. Are offended by the Words of Jesus
  3. Are challenged by the Words of Jesus
  4. Do not understand the spiritual meaning of the Words of Jesus
  5. Are not believers
  6. Are not drawn by the Father
  7. Will eventually walk away from Christ

The Words of God are eternal life.

***
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him," (John 6:60-66).

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Saints' Walk by Faith - Chapters 25 to 28

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book. It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven.  Both treatises were first published in 1654. In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.  In his second treatise on The Saints' Walk by Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Cor. 5:7.  You can see my summary for Chapters 1 to 4 here, Chapters 5 to 10 here, Chapters 11 to 13 here, Chapters 14 to 16 here, Chapters 17 to 19 here, Chapters 20 to 21 here, and Chapters 22 to 24 here.

In Chapter 25 Mr. Burroughs gives encouragement to a saint when God lets the devil out upon him.
  1. "At such a time when you were not apprehensive or sensible of Satan, then you did not have those horrid temptations that now you have, yet he had more power over you then than now.  And therefore you have no cause to be discouraged in this," (p. 249).
  2. "God has very good ends why He exercises His dearest servants even with such a heavy affliction as this is, the strong temptations of Satan," (p. 249).
  3. "Further, know that Christ Himself was tempted," (p. 249).
  4. "Yet further, we find that Christ prays for His people that they may not be overcome with temptations.  You must walk by faith in the time of temptations, that is, not only act your faith upon Christ's temptations, to take out the sting and venom of it, but act your faith upon Christ's prayer," (p. 251).
  5. "Besides, know for the help of your faith in time of temptation that Christ has broken the serpent's head already," (p. 252).
  6. "Then likewise know that there are many excellent and sweet promises that we have in Scripture that temptations shall not prevail.  And the way to help against that is to turn to those Scriptures and to work your faith upon them," (p. 253).
  7. "If you think to overcome temptations by reasoning, the devil will be too hard for you," (p. 254).
  8. "[L]et me tell you by way of encouragement for the acting of your faith in the time of temptation that it is not such a heavy condition for the Lord to let the devil out upon one in the strongest and most terrible temptation as for the devil to have power to draw any to sin...To be given up therefore to the power of any one sin is a heavier judgment than to be given up to the strongest temptation of the devil," (p. 254).
  9. "Further, for the help of your faith, even in the time of the stirrings of corruption, take that Scripture in Romans 5:6, where the Lord is said to be merciful even to the ungodly in a way of justification," (p. 255).

In Chapter 26 he shows that saints must walk by faith in times of affliction.
  1. "The first and principal help of faith in affliction, whereby a saint is able to walk, is by looking upon God," (p. 257).
  2. "There is a wisdom of God in afflictions...The Lord considers what affliction is, and He measures out afflictions suitable unto the conditions of the servants who are in affliction," (p. 258).
  3. "Then also the soul looks upon God's faithfulness in afflictions," (p. 259).
  4. "The soul looks upon God's tenderness in the time of affliction," (p. 259).
  5. "Again, the soul looks upon God's protection in afflictions and so exercises faith," (p. 259).
  6. "Further, faith takes hold of the strength of God in afflictions and so comes to have strength to bear afflictions beyond all natural strength," (p. 259).
  7. "[F]aith looks upon God as making it the greatest thing that He delights and glories in, namely to help His servants in time of affliction," (p. 260).

In Chapter 27 Mr. Burroughs outlines more ways that faith helps the soul in times of afflictions.
  1. "Faith takes away the guilt of sin, and so makes the affliction easy to be borne.  It takes away the guiltiness, and so it comes to purify the heart; guiltiness makes affections very heavy and sad...We can easily rejoice in tribulations if we are justified by faith and so have peace with God.  It is the guilt of sin that is the sting in afflictions," (p. 261).
  2. "Afflictions that were evil before come to be turned into good," (p. 262).
  3. "Again, faith enables the soul to look upon the issue of afflictions as present, and to conclude deliverance out of afflictions; though they are not actual, yet faith makes them as if they were actual and real," (p. 262).
  4. "Faith helps in afflictions by resting upon the Word," (p. 262).
  5. "Besides, in afflictions faith exercises thus.  It makes up all in God," (p. 263).

In Chapter 28 he exhorts Christians to exercise their faith in the evil day.  "We are kept by the power of God, but through faith.  It's not enough for you to say that there is an infinite and glorious God who has all power and excellence in Him, for there is none of this power that will be let out to you but through faith; it must be through an act of faith," (p. 265).

This concludes my look at two of Jeremiah Burroughs' treatises found in his book Faith.  This book has been helpful in not only increasing my faith, but also encouraging others to do the same.


***
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," (Luke 22:31-32).

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Saints' Walk by Faith - Chapters 22 to 24

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book. It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven.  Both treatises were first published in 1654. In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.  In his second treatise on The Saints' Walk by Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Cor. 5:7.  You can see my summary for Chapters 1 to 4 here, Chapters 5 to 10 here, Chapters 11 to 13 here, Chapters 14 to 16 here, Chapters 17 to 19 here, and Chapters 20 to 21 here.

In Chapter 22 Mr. Burroughs gives direction for the exercise of faith in the want of sense:
  1. "Be afraid of unbelief as much as you are afraid of presumption...the truth is that unbelief is a more secret sin, and that which we may fall into before we are aware, sooner than the other," (p. 225).
  2. "At any time when you have a word that seems to make a case for you, take heed that you do not hearken to anything against that word, but require proof for it out of the Word," (p. 227).
  3. "If you have any one sign that may encourage you, you may take comfort from that though you do not find another," (p. 229).
  4. "Labor to treasure up some principles, or some certain conclusions and truths that you will stick to, and resolve upon whatever temptations come against them," (p. 230).

In Chapter 23 he continues to give direction for the exercise of faith in the want of sense:
  1. "When reasoning and temptations grow strong, the way is not to answer them with reasoning and to seek to satisfy those temptations, but rather to fall to prayer and to spread them before the Lord," (p. 236).
  2. "In the time of desertion, the direction that we should take is this: Labor to keep in your eye the object of faith so as to behold and look upon that which may help your faith.  Set before you the covenant of grace, the freeness and the fullness of God's grace in Christ as it is revealed in the covenant, the plentiful mercy that is there; keep that in your eye," (p. 238).
  3. "In the want of sense and sight, let it be your great care, if you think you have not the faith and repentance before, yet now afresh to act on it," (p. 239).

In Chapter 24 Mr. Burroughs outlines helps to walk by faith when God appears as an enemy to the soul.  He contends that a Christian's main care should be to activate faith in all duty: to walk by faith not only when God is withdrawn, but also when God shall appear to be an enemy because:
  1. "This is not such a condition but other dear saints of God have been put into heretofore," (p. 244).
  2. "[You] know that it may be that these are but the dark apprehensions of unbelief, and not indeed that God really is as an enemy to you," (p. 245).
  3. "[N]othing can be gained by flying from Him," (p. 246).
  4. "[I]f your soul is at enmity with sin, certainly God is not your enemy, whatever He appears to you to be," (p. 246).
  5. "[You] suppose that was a reality that God was an enemy.  Yet know there is enough in Christ to reconcile enemies," (p. 246).
  6. "It my be it is because your heart is loose and careless and negligent in your way that therefore God seems to come against you as an enemy," (p. 246).
  7. "[You] let God's appearance be never so terrible, it's fitting for you to trust in Him," (p. 247).


***
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life," (Rom. 5:8-10).