• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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When It Is Necessary To Find A New Church. . . .

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

We have recently moved to another city and today we attended (for the second time) a very friendly and welcoming church. The worship music is very upbeat (a little more than I am use to), but the songs were all God-centered. I like all kinds of praise songs so this is not a problem for me, but I do love the great hymns that not only praise God but teach us about Him.

The pastor is teaching on the eternal security of the believer just now. Today’s was the second message in the series. Just like last week, the sermon was excellent. The pastor is obviously a wonderful preacher/teacher. It has been a pleasure to worship there and hear the Word of God delivered in truth.

When you have been attending one church for many years, do you think you would find it difficult to begin again in a new church where none of the people you know attend? Do you think it would be difficult to move between similar denominations or to an independent non-denominational church? If you were a leader in your other church would you now feel like God is putting you on the shelf for awhile or that your ministry, which you were so comfortable with, is now concluded in His eyes? What if God is challenging you to begin ministering in a totally new area of His church?

I have been a member of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) for many years. There are similar denominational churches here but no ARP. Therefore, I must look for a new church that is Christ-centered and pretty consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is important to me that a church teaches doctrine because we can only worship God by knowing Him through His word. It is important to me that the church leadership is serious about Christian discipleship and loves the congregation. I guess you can see that I will only be comfortable in a church where an uncompromising gospel is preached and practiced.

How about you? If you were in my shoes, do you have a firm foundation in Christ that will serve as a compass to guide you to a new Church? It is certainly a difficult task to find a new church, but with Christ all things are possible.

“Let him who wants a true church cling to the Word by which everything is upheld.” (Martin Luther)

Even The Unrighteous Claim To Know God’s Will

From the writings of Dr. John Kennedy:

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” – Psalm 25:14

[Skeptics and critics of Christianity] cannot bear to think that those who fear the Lord have reached any attainment beyond themselves, and to which, by any amount of painstaking, they cannot advance. This wounds their pride, and tends to make them uneasy in their alienation from God. They may allow that unusual knowledge is attained by those who are disciples indeed from the direct teaching of Scripture, for this they can hope to imitate. Their own unsanctified knowledge of what is written they can make to appear, to themselves at least, not unlike to what these have obtained immediately from the pages of Scripture. They could hold up their heads among the godly if this were all their attainment. The most convenient way of getting rid of their uneasiness is to regard as superstitious the attainment that is beyond them. They can make out a case, with a plausible surface, in support of their opinion. . . .

To minds that have always kept far off from the realities of a life of godliness, that look from a distance on the communion of His people with the Lord, the difference between the baseless pretensions of deceivers and the God-given privilege of the righteous is utterly impalpable. All kinds of intercourse with the Invisible are classed by these together, and to them all who claim the privilege of communion with the Lord appear as deluded fanatics. More triumphant still is their air, when they can quote, in support of their position, the mistakes of those who were truly godly. But, surely, it is not difficult to discover a very good reason why the Lord should allow even these to be sometimes deceived in their anticipations, and in their readings of the page of Providence. Such mistakes only prove that they are always prone to error, when the correctness of their information specially depends upon their own spirituality. They need to learn this, and their falls will teach them. And their painful experience of the proneness to wander here will help to make all the more precious to them the certainty attaching to what is the standing ground of their hope – a plain “thus saith the Lord,” on some page of Scripture.

There is something, in the more peculiar attainments of the righteous, which excites an unholy and dishonest ambition in those who seek the honor that cometh from man. Men have pretended to know, as others knew not, the mind of the Lord, who exhibited no such difference, between themselves and the world, as there is between him that feareth God and him that feareth Him not. When out of sight they have pretended to be holding converse with God, but their faces did not shine when they came down from the mount. But from him that hath not the true fear of the Lord shall be taken even that which he seems to have. The wise course is to seek to have the fear of God within us, to pray for grace to keep that fear in exercise, and to leave in the hands of Him, who divides to every man severally as He will. . . .

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