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Lord’s Day 50, 2017


I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

image

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

—Hebrews 4:14–16

Hymn XII.
The effort—in another measure.
imageJohn Newton (1725–1807)

Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat
Where Jesus answers pray’r;
There humbly fall before his feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burden’d souls to thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bow’d down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely prest;
By war without, and fears within,
I come to thee for rest.

Be thou my shield and hiding–place!
That, shelter’d near thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him, “Thou hast dy’d.”

Oh wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead thy gracious name.

“Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still,
My promis’d grace receive;”
’Tis Jesus speaks—I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.

Olney Hymns. Book III: On the Rise, Progress, Changes, and Comforts of the Spiritual Life.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.





In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: He Hideth My Soul

Saturday··2017·12·09
He Hideth My Soul For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Psalm 27:5 A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me; He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see. Refrain: He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock That shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth my life with the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand, And covers me there with His hand. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord— He taketh my burden away; He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strength as my day. Refrain With numberless blessings each moment He crowns, And, filled with His fullness divine, I sing in my rapture, “Oh, glory to God For such a Redeemer as mine!” Refrain When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise To meet Him in clouds of the sky, His perfect salvation, His wonderful love, I’ll shout with the millions on high. Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Friday··2017·12·08
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. —1 Chronicles 29:11 Misappropriation :: n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or funds of another person for one’s own use or other unauthorized purpose, particularly by a public official, a trustee of a trust, an executor or administrator of a dead person’s estate, or by any person with a responsibility to care for and protect another’s assets. God is the owner of all things, and we are his stewards. When we use the resources he has entrusted to us for sinful purposes, we are guilty of misappropriation. But it is worse than that: When we sin, we do not only misappropriate his property for ourselves, we use it against him. This is a most heinous crime. Hereby it appears that sin is an abusing of the good things of God against himself. It is a turning of the goods you are entrusted with against him that entrusts you; as it were, the converting of the instruments which he lends you for your advantage, to do execution upon him who lends them. There is no sin which you act any way, but it is by the help of some instruments or enjoyments which you have from God, which he is the true owner of. You have nothing of your own, he is the owner of all, and so when you sin you employ that which is his own against him. When you think evil, when you conceive it, when you incline to it, or resolve on it, or affect it, your minds, wills, or affections are the instruments of this evil. Now your souls, and all their faculties, belong to God; he challenges them as his own, and so you make use of his own, against him; they are his; so are your tongues, when you speak evil; so, are your other members, when they act sin; so are your estates, when they minister to pride, or covetousness, or sensuality, &c. You make use of these to help you to sin; and these are not yours, but his who is the owner of all, and so you employ that which is God’s against himself. What a horrid and intolerable provocation is there in this dealing with God! And what would it be accounted if you should deal thus with one another? It is as if a wretch should take the clothes and jewels of his wife to adorn his harlot; she would be ready to say, when she saw her rival tricked up with her ornaments, Can flesh and blood endure this? Oh but the Lord endures more, and has worse usage at our hands. We bestow more upon sin, and that which is more his, when it is a rival, more odious to him than any can be to us. It is a great evil not to employ for the Lord what we have from him, as appears by the dreadful doom passed on the slothful servant, Mat. xxv. 30; his crime was, not the using his talent against his lord, but only not using it for him. It would be a horrid thing to employ anything against God, if it were not his own; to be found striking at God with any weapon, from whomsoever we had it. What is it then to turn his own weapons, which he has furnished us with for our security and advantage, against himself; to make use of that which is his own, to do him the greatest injury; not only not to employ it for him (which he may reasonably expect, since we have it upon these terms), but to employ it against him! Sure this is most intolerable. As if one should give you wood for firing to warm you, and you should make use of it to set his house on fire, from whom you have it. By this the Lord sets forth the sinfulness of Jerusalem’s sin; this made it not only abominable, but did aggravate it into an abomination in the abstract. That what was his she employed against him, laid it out on idols, made use of what was his own to serve her idolatry, Ezek. xvi. 17–23. She employed what was the Lord’s against him; this made her actings so exceeding abominable. And this we do in every sin against God. When he is the owner of all, we still make use of something or other which is his to help us to provoke and dishonour him. —David Clarkson, The Lord the Owner of All Things, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:386–387.

Scripture tells us that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We are not attractive; we are not loveable. God is in no way obligated, nor is there anything in us to entice him, to love us. Yet he does love, freely, of his own will. We can no way move him to love us, or to express it. We have not anything of our own to attract his affection. We have nothing of our own that is lovely, nothing that is delightful, nothing desirable. What ever of this nature is in us, it is his, not ours. We have no estate . . . but what he is the owner of; no sweetness of temper, but what he helps us to; no good quality, but what he plants in us; no beauty, but what is lent us by him. And who will love a person that has no loveliness of her own, no beauty at all, but what is borrowed? We may discern how far we are from having anything that may move the Lord to love us, by looking ourselves in the glass . . . we may see our unlovely state therein, Ezek. xvi. 6, instead of rare, fine complexion, and lovely features, all covered with blood and pollution; so far from being amiable, as we were ghastly and loathsome, more fit to be cast out with abhorrence than to be embraced; not only too bad to be loved, but to be pitied; not only without beauty and ornament, but without life; no more in us to move love, than in a dead carcase. Such were we, such the state of our souls; and could the sovereign Lord of the world set his love on such objects as we, having nothing in the world that we can properly call our own, but sin, the most hateful, the most ugly, and loathsome deformity in the eye of God? Oh how free is that love, that would pitch on such objects as we, who had nothing in us fit for love, nothing of our own that could deserve it, nothing that could oblige it, nothing that could any way move or attract it, nothing of our own, but what might sooner have provoked hatred and loathing. Oh if the Lord had not loved most freely, if his love could not have moved itself, we had never met with it, nor any expression of it. We see hereby the Lord loved us (as he shews mercy), because he would love; we see that wonderful freeness of it exemplified again in us, as it was in Israel, Deut. vii. 7, 8. —David Clarkson, The Lord the Owner of All Things, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:385.

Rights of Ownership

Wednesday··2017·12·06
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. —1 Chronicles 29:11 This may inform us that the Lord hath right to deal with us, or any creature, as he will. However he use us, he can do us no wrong. This is manifest, in that we are his own. This is enough to answer whatever may be objected against his disposing of us or anything at his pleasure. Shall I not do with my own as I will? Mat. xx. 10, 15. If our diminutive, limited, dependent interest gave us right to do what we will with what we call our own, we think it our due to exercise it as we please upon the inferior creatures, what right and power has he, who is Lord of all, to use us or anything as he will, when he is so fully, so absolutely, so transcendently the owner of us and all things? It is true, and should be observed and remembered, that in reference to rational creatures, the Lord has restrained the exercise of his plenary right by his laws and promises; he has declared hereby, that though he has undoubted right to use us any way as he will, yet he will not use us but so and so, according to the import of those laws and promises. Yet though he will not exercise all that right and power over us, as he is our ruler, yet otherwise, as he is our owner, it fully belongs to him. And thus, if we consider him as a lord and proprietor antecedently to his determination of forbearing such exercises of his right, so he might use us however we would; nor could whatever he did be any wrong to us. No usage of us whatsoever, no, not that which seems most grievous to nature, or most harsh at first sight unto reason, could possibly be unjust in him or an injury to ns; for justice or righteousness . . . consists in abstaining from what is not our own; or, as others commonly place it, in giving . . . every one his own; so that which is unjust or a wrong to us, must be a withholding or taking from us that which is our own. Therefore nothing that he can take or withhold from us can possibly be injurious to us, because in respect of him nothing is our own; he is the true owner of us, and all we have or can have. Yea, if we were innocent, and without sin, yet the Lord, as our proprietor, might deny or take from us anything whatsoever, our estates, lives, being, or well-being, righteously, and without doing us the least wrong; for what injury could it be to take that from us which is his own and not ours? If he should take from us what estate we have, as he did from Job, and as is generally conceived, without respect to his sin, he would not thereby wrong us, he takes but his own. If he should take away life, or give others a special command to do it, as he did to Abraham in reference to his son Isaac, Gen. xxii., the taking away his life in that case had been no murder in Abraham, no wrong to Isaac, because the Lord and owner of his life gave order for it, who had right to call for his own, and take it in what way he pleased. If he should take away our being, and quite annihilate us, he would but take his own, and that which we wholly owe to him. Thus, as our Lord and proprietor, he has right to do, but only that he has declared he will not do it. If we have so much power over the being of other creatures, as to destroy them, so as they are never restored again, though they be not reduced to nothing; if we may kill them for our use, food, or physic; if we may burn wood and other things, turn them to ashes for our service, and yet do them no wrong, what right and power hath he over our being who is full and absolute Lord and owner thereof! If he should take away our well-being, if he should inflict pain on us in any degree or for any continuance, so as to deprive us of a comfortable, a well-being, this would be to take his own, and that which he owes us not; this he might take, considered as our proprietor, and without respect to his promise; that indeed declares that he will not so use us, but otherwise, setting that aside, he hath right to do it, and might inflict what pain he would, and continue it as long as he pleased, as a mere affliction, without respect to sin, though not as a punishment. If freedom from pain, any degree of it, be not due to us, then it would be no wrong to inflict it on us in any degree, and if freedom from it for a moment is not our due, then it would be no injury to inflict it for any continuance; for it is no wrong to deny us that which is not due to us, and that is not due to us which we cannot challenge as our own. And what can we count our own, if being, well-being, and all, be wholly and absolutely his, who is Lord and owner of all? In that which is not due to us, we can have no right; and in that where we have no right, we can have no wrong; and so the Lord, as owner of us and all things, may deal with us, or any, as he will, without doing us any wrong. —David Clarkson, The Lord the Owner of All Things, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:380–381

His Excellent Greatness

Tuesday··2017·12·05
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. —1 Chronicles 29:11 Herein we may discern the greatness of that Lord whom we serve, and whose we are. The whole world, and its fulness, all that is in it, both persons and things, are his own, wholly and absolutely his. The heaven is his throne, the earth is his footstool; hell is his prison . . . the angels are his ministers, as much his servants as those who are bought and sold; they do nothing but his will, and have nothing but at his allowance; they cast their crowns at his feet, as having them and all from him, and holding them and all at his pleasure. The greatest monarchs in the world, and those that are called terrarum domini, lords of the earth, are his vassals; they hold what they have of him, by a tenure of as much subjection as that which was anciently known here by the name of villainage. They have nothing of their own; all they possess is his. They have it but to improve for him and his service, and they are turned out of possession at the will of the supreme Lord; and though they may seem to have much in their hands, yet the greatest empire, that of Ahasuerus, consisting of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, or that of Alexander greater than the Persian, or that of the Romans much larger than the Grecian was, is but as a mole-hill, or the small possession of an ant, yea, much less, compared with the dominions of the great Lord of all. The whole earth is but as a needle’s point to the visible heavens, and how much less these are than the heaven of heavens we cannot tell. But this we know, that these and all are his own, and more at his disposal, than any clod of earth is at ours. In brief, all that are in the heavens, or on the earth, or under the earth, are his, his creatures. Whoever they are, whatsoever they have above mere nothing, they have it all from him, and so hold it as that they and all are still his own. Oh what reason have we to adore and admire him, to ascribe all to him, and to him alone! Thine is the greatness, and the majesty, and the kingdom, and the dominion. ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable,’ Ps. cxlv. 3; Great is the Lord, &c. He is exalted far above all. What high thoughts should we have of him! How should we revere him! How should all the earth tremble before him! ‘For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great king over all the earth,’ Ps. xlvii. 2, over all the heavens, over all the world. Let us strive for suitable apprehensions of him, and praise him according to his excellent greatness. —David Clarkson, The Lord the Owner of All Things, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:379–380

Merely Stewards

Monday··2017·12·04
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. —1 Chronicles 29:11 How should we think of property? In arguments with “Christian” socialists,* objecting to confiscation an redistribution of private property, I have been told, “It’s not yours—it belongs to God.” Which is true, as far as it goes. How, then, should we think of our possessions? We have them as stewards, entrusted by their master with his treasure, or goods, to dispose thereof to such persons, and for such uses, as he appoints. Thus we are frequently in Scripture represented as stewards, particularly Luke xii. 42. A steward has his master’s stores committed to his trust; he has them in his custody, and so far they are in his possession; he has power to dispose thereof according to his trust, and so he is said to be the ruler over the household, i.e., the disposer of things belonging to the family, ver. 44. And accordingly he makes use of, and employs what is in his hands: he provides and brings forth necessaries for the family, gives them their meat, &c. And so Abraham’s steward is . . . one wno runs to and fro to provide what is requisite . . . who brings forth necessaries out of the stores, Gen. xv. 2; but all according to his master’s order and appointment, Mat. xx. 8, Gen. xliv. 1. And no other has any right to take from him what is in his custody and possession, or to dispose thereof as he may, or to hinder him from so using or employing it. And so far, that which he, and no other, has right to possess and dispose and use, may be well said to be his; but it is not his to keep, or use as he list, as the steward in the parable found, Luke xvi. 1, and xi. 45, 46. And even thus are things ours. The Lord has entrusted them in our hands, to dispose of them as he appoints, and use them as he has given us order, and no otherwise; because we have right to such a possession, disposal, and use of them, a right which no other can claim to the things in our trust; upon this account they are and may be called ours. Or as an artificer’s tools, which he entrusts in the custody of his servant, so as he may dispose them most conveniently for his work, and use them for his service; another has no right to take them from him, or to use them without his leave. So far they may be said to be the servant’s tools. We are the Lord’s servants, and a servant is . . . his master’s tool. So are we, so are all our members and faculties, our Lord’s instruments; but he gives us them to be employed in his work, and used for his service, and none can justly hinder us from so employing them. So far they are ours; and other things which we possess proportionably, ours in trust, but the Lord’s in true propriety. —David Clarkson, The Lord the Owner of All Things, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:378–379 * What, can’t a socialist be a Christian? Yes, I reluctantly agree, one can. Christians often believe and do many foolish things. But as a socialist, he is not behaving biblically, i.e. as a Christian. Therefore, “Christian socialist” being an oxymoron, I write “‘Christian’ socialist.”


2017·12·03
Lord’s Day 49, 2017
2017·12·02
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Like a River Glorious
2017·12·01
On Leading Congregational Singing
2017·11·30
Where There Is Life (3)
2017·11·29
Where There Is Life (2)
2017·11·28
Where There Is Life (1)
2017·11·27
Partake of Christ (5)

2017·11·19
Lord’s Day 47, 2017
2017·11·18
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Faith Is the Victory
2017·11·17
The Mystical Body
2017·11·16
Come to Christ
2017·11·15
If Ye Be Willing
2017·11·14
Halfway to Christ
2017·11·13
Far from Christ

2017·11·26
Lord’s Day 48, 2017
2017·11·25
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: It Is Well
2017·11·24
Partake of Christ (4)
2017·11·23
Thanksgiving, 2017
2017·11·22
Partake of Christ (3)
2017·11·21
Partake of Christ (2)
2017·11·20
Partake of Christ (1)



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