Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Contentment, Prosperity, & God's Glory - Intro

Contentment, Prosperity, and God's Glory [ISBN 978-1-601778-232-8] is a book of sermons by Jeremiah Burroughs on achieving contentment during times of abundance which were compiled as an appendix to The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.  The Rare Jewel helps the Christian to find contentment in times of want, while these follow-up sermons help the Christian to find contentment in times of prosperity.  In both books, Mr. Burroughs expounds Philippians 4:12, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

The doctrine presented in Contentment, Prosperity, and God's Glory is that "[a] Christian is taught by God to know how to be full," (p. 9).  Jeremiah Burroughs notes that "[i]t is a better lesson for one to learn how to honor God in fullness than it is to learn how he can get full...You are therefore full because you have all things that are necessary, even though you may not have everything on which you have set your eye...It's a good sign of grace to be more concerned about how to abound than how to get abundance--to be more careful to use what you have for God than to maintain it for yourselves," (pp. 10-11).

In the following chapters he will address:
  1. What Learning to Be Full Means
  2. The Difficulty of Learning to Be Full
  3. The Necessity of Learning to Be Full
  4. The Excellency of Learning to Be Full
  5. The Mystery of Learning to Be Full
  6. Lessons for Learning to Be Full
  7. Increasing the Guilt of Sins of Abundance
  8. Applications for Improving Prosperous Conditions
  9. Concluding Words on Contentment
The author commends the reader to make "a good interpretation of God's mercies and dealings toward you.  Have good thoughts of God and make good interpretations of His dealings toward you," (p. 7).

This small booklet is a quick read, but will provide a life-time of godly guidance and conviction as the Christian conforms to the image of Christ.


***
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God," (2 Cor. 3:5).

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Sons of God

In order to explain the giants found in Genesis 6:4, "There were giants in earth in those days;", some Christians have interpreted the phrase "sons of God" from verse 2 to be fallen angels, or demons that mated with human females and created an offspring called giants or Nephilim.  I don't believe that this definition of the sons of God is biblically accurate.  I believe that the sons of God are believers from the godly line of Seth and the daughters of men are unbelievers.  Samuel E. Pierce (1746-1829) addresses this issue in An Exposition of the Epistle of I John [ISBN 1-888514-01-9] when he defines the two sorts of people in our world as seen in 1 John 3:10 (pp. 399-400):

"I am in proceeding with the subjects before me, 1. To show, that there are two sorts of persons, or people, in our world: one are the children of God, the other are the children of the devil.  The original terms of distinction were, the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent.  "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," Gen. iii. 15.

Adam is called the son of God .  Luke iii. 38.  It is said of Seth, he had a son born unto him, whom he called Enos.  It is added, then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.  In the margin it is, or, to call themselves by the name of the LORD.  Gen. iv. 26.  And in the 6th chapter of Genesis, those who were professors of Christ are distinguished from the serpent's seed, by this title, the sons of God.  And by their intermarriages with the Cainites, brought on that universal corruption of men, and the worship of God, as brought the deluge of waters upon the world of the ungodly.  When that catastrophe was finished, and the earth renovated, there was the same distinction of the two distinct seeds found upon the earth.  They were so distinguished, the one from the other, they could not be blended; there was no uniting so as to become one; it was wholly impossible; they were distinguishable even by their actions, and by their motives from whence they acted; as also the end to which their actions tended.  This is the subject on the which the apostle is not treating.  He viewed it to be of importance, then; it must be of the same importance now.  The title of the children of God, is of vast importance: it is delightful; it is refreshing; it is encouraging; it is strengthening and serves to be very invigorating to the mind."

Mr. Pierce is obviously not under the impression that the "sons of God" are fallen angels.


***
"In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother," (1 John 3:10).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 7

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 7, the author identifies the vanity of excuses that are made for the want of love:
  1. "Some say they are bound to contend earnestly for the faith, and therefore mildness and love in this case are but urged unseasonably," (p. 89).
  2. "Others say they will not halt between two opinions," (p. 89).
  3. "Others plead that they are for a thorough reformation, and the purging of all impurities out of the Church of Christ; and they cannot endure such as do things by halves only," (p. 90-91).
  4. "Others say, 'What, shall we love a company of apostates, who are for returning to the onions and garlic of Egypt, and will receive the mark of the Beast itself?'" (p. 91).
  5. "Others say that many who pretend to religion and conscience are schismatic and rebellious, and loving and countenancing them only hardens and encourages them in their pernicious ways, to the prejudice both of Church and state," (p. 92).
Finally, the author gives five uses of love for application:
  1. of information -- love is the more excellent way (p. 94)
  2. of caution -- to what is contrary to love, to sinful self-love, to scandalizing anyone, and to the unbridled tongue (pp. 95-103)
  3. of exhortation -- to abound in love because God is love, Christ the Head is full of love, love is preferred before faith and hope, love is a debt, and greater love is more universal (pp. 103-105).
  4. of direction -- observe your own defects in love, consider how much Christ is concerned for His members, search the Scriptures for true knowledge, be humble and self-denying, and mark those who cause division and avoid them (pp. 105-106).
  5. of consolation -- the Church of Christ shall be upheld, the love of Christ towards His Church is unchangeable, and heaven will have no want of love (p. 107-108).
This concludes my chapter-by-chapter overview of Mr. Vincent's A Discourse Concerning Love.  I pray that you find it edifying to your soul and helpful to your walk with Christ.


***
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent," (Rev. 2:4-5).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 6

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 6, the author demonstrates how love is from the Church's edification.  "A Christian edifies himself and others by love," (p. 75).  First, he shows how a Christian loves himself:
  1. "The more he loves, there is the great light in him," (p. 75).
  2. "The more a Christian loves, there is the more of God's image in him," (p. 75).
  3. "The more a Christian loves, the more firm is his evidence that he is indeed a Christian," (p. 76).
Next, Mr. Vincent shows that a Christian also loves others for the Church's edification:
  1. "Love makes us concerned for the whole Church of Christ, and enlarged in our supplications and intercessions for it," (p. 76).
  2. "Love strongly inclines us unto peaceableness, and what is for the Church's peace is for her edification," (p. 77).
  3. "Love makes Christians condescend and yield one to another, that hereby edification may be promoted," (p. 78).
  4. "Love makes Christians highly esteem the pastors and builders of the Church for their work's sake; and hereby edification is promoted," (p. 79).
  5. "Love will constrain the pastors and builders of the Church to mind their work to purpose," (p. 80).
Finally, he looks at 1 Cor. 13:4-7 to show how evident love is for edification:
  1. "Love suffers long and is kind," (p. 81).
  2. "Love envies not," (p. 82).
  3. "Love vaunteth not itself, neither is it puffed up," (p. 83).
  4. "Love does not behave itself unseemly," (p. 83).
  5. "Love seeks not her own, and consequently inclines us to edify and seek the good of others," (p. 84).
  6. "Love is not easily provoked," (p. 85).
  7. "Love thinks no evil," (p. 85).
  8. "Love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth," (p. 86).
  9. "Love is for the Church's edification," (p. 87).
  10. "Love edifies, for it bears and endures all things," (p. 88).
Mr. Vincent concludes with the following plea to the Church:
"O Love!  How much want is there of you in the Church of Christ!  And how much does the Church feel for this want!  It groans, it languishes, it dies daily because of your absence.  Return, O Love, return!  Repair breaches, restore paths to dwell in, edify the old ways and places, and raise up the foundations of many generations, for after all the most politic contrivances, you will be found the master-builder," (p. 88).


***
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent," (Rev. 2:4-5).

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 5

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 5, the author looks at the properties of love found in the Scriptures:
  1. "Love must proceed from a pure heart," (p. 70).
  2. "Love must be joined with a good conscience," (p. 70).
  3. "Love must flow from faith unfeigned," (p. 71).
  4. "Love must be fervent," (p. 71).
  5. "Christians' love mus be brotherly," (p. 71).
  6. "Love should be extended so as to become universal; and the more extensive it is, the more it makes a man resemble God Himself," (p. 72).

***
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," (Heb. 10:24-25).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 4

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 4, Mr. Vincent explains his fourth proposition that love is exceedingly for the Church's edification.  First, he notes the four types of love: (1) Carnal and impure, (2) Natural love, natural affection, (3) Civil, and (4) A love which is spiritual (pp. 54-57).  He then goes on to explain the nature of the love which is spiritual:
  1. "Love is a grace wrought by the God of all grace," (p. 57).
  2. "Love is in obedience to the divine command," (p. 57).
  3. "Love implies a mortification of contrary passion," (p. 58).
  4. "Love implies an inclination to union," (p. 58).
  5. "Love enlarges the heart and frees it from the bonds of selfishness, and makes us desire others' welfare as well as our own," (pp. 59-60).
  6. "Love is the fulfilling of the law, the doing of which is so much for our neighbor's benefit," (p. 60).
Finally, the author expounds on what it means to love your neighbor:
  • "Love has a regard to the honor and authority of others," (p. 61).
  • "Love has a regard to the lives of others," (p. 62).
  • "Love will not violate others' chastity," (p. 62).
  • "Love will not steal away the substance of another," (p. 63).
  • "Love is very tender of others' names and reputations," (p. 64).
  • "Love is contented with its own, and hinders us from coveting what belongs to another," (p. 65).
  • "Love breeds sympathy when our fellow Christians are in misery," (p. 65).
  • "Love makes us delight in the communion of the saints," (p. 66).
  • "Love causes a joy in the good of others," (p. 67).
  • "Love covers a multitude of sins and infirmities," (p. 67).
  • "Love is projecting and designing the good of others," (p. 69).

***
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," (Heb. 10:24-25).

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 3

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 3, Mr. Vincent explains his third proposition that the body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself by showing what foundation the Church is to edify itself:
  1. "The knowledge of God is called a foundation," (p. 47).
  2. "Christ the Rock is called a foundation," (p. 47).
  3. "The doctrine of the apostles and prophets is also called a foundation," (p. 47).
  4. "Obedience and good works are called a foundation," (p. 48).
Next, he tells what the end goal of this edification of the Church must be:
  1. "The Church must edify itself that it may grow stronger," (p. 48).
  2. "The Church must edify itself that it may become larger," (p. 48).
  3. "The Church must edify itself that it may become more beautiful and glorious," (p. 48).
Finally, the author gives three uses for application:
  1. "It is matter of great lamentation that the Church at present is so far from edifying itself that it is doing quite the contrary," (p. 50).
  2. " of advice.  Let the Church's edification be minded.  Let all study and follow the things that make for peace, and things wherewith on my edify another (Romans 14:19)," (p. 50).

***
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ," (1 Cor. 12:12).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 2

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 2, Mr. Vincent explains his second proposition that the body of Christ is imperfect in this world:
  1. "The number of the Church's members is not yet completed," (p. 27).
  2. "Those members who actually are of the Church are imperfect, the very best of them, as long as they remain in this world," (p. 29).
First, the author shows how the church should be continually increasing:
  1. "Prayer should be constant and very fervent for this increase," (p. 32).
  2. "The promises of the Church's increase are to be believed and pleaded," (p. 32).
  3. "The Church is to be increased by the powerful preaching of the gospel," (p. 33).
  4. "The avoiding of scandal does much for the Church's increase," (p. 34).
  5. "The Church is mightily increased by the exemplary conduct of her members," (p. 34).
Second, Mr. Vincent shows that as the Church increases in numbers, all the members should increase more in grace and goodness.  He notes that grace is increased in the Church members several ways:
  1. "It is increased by a serious and frequent engaging in those ordinances which He has instituted," (p. 35).
  2. "Grace is increased by the improving of providence," (p. 35).
  3. "The covenant of grace is to be studied, and the promises applied, in order for a Christian to increase," (p. 36).
  4. "Grace is increased by having recourse unto that fullness which dwells in Christ," (p. 36).
  5. "All impediments of increase must be carefully shunned, such as pride, sloth, earthliness, or carnal and corrupt affections," (p. 37).
Then, he gives several reasons why the Church should be continually increasing:
  1. "This increase is for the Father's glory," (p. 37).
  2. "This increase of the Church is for the honor of Christ, the Church's Head," (p. 38).
  3. "In this increase of the Church, the operation of the Spirit is very illustrious," (p. 38).
  4. "This increase is for the Church's advantage; therefore it should be pursued," (p. 39).
  5. "The world benefits by the Church's increase," (p. 39).
  6. "The angels themselves are concerned with the increase of the Church," (p. 39).
Finally, Mr. Vincent gives three uses for application:
  1. "of reproof to whose who hinder the Church's increase," (p. 40).
  2. "of encouragement unto the Church of Christ notwithstanding her imperfection," (p. 42).
  3. "of advice to the Church of Christ, and all her true members," (p. 44).

***
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ," (1 Cor. 12:12).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Discourse Concerning Love - Chapter 1

I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent.   This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.  In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."

Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1).  The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
  1. "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
  2. "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
  3. "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
  4. "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 1, the author explains his first proposition by showing the great resemblance between the Church of Christ and a body:
  1. "The life of the body depends upon its conjunction with the head.  Christ is the Church's life, and the Church could no more live without Christ than a body could remain alive after the head was severed from it," (p. 5).
  2. "The head has a mighty influence upon the body.  There is a powerful influence from Christ upon His Church; and what good it does is done by virtue of this influence," (p. 5).
  3. "The body has many members, and these members have different offices.  The Church likewise has various members, and their different stations, relations, and callings diversify their work and duties," (p. 6).
  4. "The body is fitly joined; and thus fitly joined is the Church of Christ," (pp. 6-7).
  5. "The body is compact together, and so is the Church of Christ," (p. 7).
  6. "God has set the members in the body as it pleased Him; the different gifts and graces which are in the Church of Christ, and the members of it, are according to God's will and pleasure," (p. 8).
  7. "In the body, nourishment is conveyed upon the part, and the whole is hereby sustained...The Church of Christ has food to eat which the world knows not of.  It has a spiritual sense, a spiritual appetite, and its food is spiritual," (p. 9).
  8. "In the body, the members and parts are operative and active for the good of the whole.  In the church there is is an energeia, an effectual working in the measure of every part, that the whole may be increased," (p. 10).
  9. "The whole body, as well as all its members, is animated by one soul; and the Church, with all its true members, is animated by one and the same Spirit," (p. 10).
  10. "The body is under the soul's conduct and command; the Church is conducted and ruled by the Spirit of Christ," (p. 11).
Next, Mr. Vincent shows what kind of body the Church of Christ is:
  1. "The church [sic] is a body of men," (p. 12).
  2. "The Church is a body governed by the best laws [for the] Lord Himself is their lawgiver; and He is holy and just," (p. 13).
  3. "The Church is the wisest body and society in the world," (p. 14).
  4. "The Church is a body of great beauty and excellency," (p. 15).
  5. "The Church is a body of great strength; for this body is strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might," (p. 16).
  6. "The Church is a body to whom the whole is beholden," (p. 17).
  7. "The Church is a body that will at length, by many degrees, be made more glorious than 'tis at present," (p. 17).
Under this first proposition, Mr. Vincent notes three uses for application:
  1. "Let the Church, and all the members of it, consider their relation unto Christ their Head, and do that duty which such a relation calls for," (p. 18).  "The members of Christ should (1) love Him in great sincerity, (2) endeavor to promote His honor and glory, (3) obey all His commands, (4) live by faith upon Him, and (5) do nothing unbecoming His members," (pp. 19-21).
  2. "Let the members of this body, the Church, consider the relation they have one to another," (p. 21).
  3. "Let the world take heed how they deal with the Church, which is the body of Christ," (p. 26).
Under the second use for application, the author entreats the members of the Church to follow these counsels:
  1. "Let not higher members despise the lower," (p. 22).
  2. "Let not the lower members of the Church be discontent," (p. 22).
  3. "Let the members of the Church be sensible of the need in which stand, one of another...God has ordered it so in His Church that, as the members are to have their main and principal dependence upon Christ their Head, so they are to have some kind of dependence upon one another," (p. 23).
  4. "Let the members of the Church 'have the same care one for another that they have for themselves' (1 Cor. 12:25)," (p. 24).
  5. "Let the members of the Church sympathize with suffering members," (p. 24).
  6. "Let the members of the Church be concerned about fellow members who are sinfully distempered," (p. 24).
  7. "If one member of the Church is honored, all the members should rejoice with it," (p. 25).
  8. "Let there be no discord among the members of the Church, but they should perfectly agree together," (p. 25).

***
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ," (1 Cor. 12:12).