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Lord’s Day 24, 2018

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


Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant
to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation . . .

—Luke 2:29–30

Hymn III.
Happiness found.


Happiness, thou lovely name,
Where’s thy seat, O tell me where?
Learning, pleasure, wealth, and fame,
All cry out, “It is not here:”
Not the wisdom of the wise
Can inform me where it lies,
Not the grandeur of the great
Can the bliss I seek create.

Object of my first desire,
Jesus crucify’d for me!
All to happiness aspire,
Only to be found in thee:
Thee to praise, and thee to know,
Constitute our bliss below;
Thee to see, and thee to love,
Constitute our bliss above.

Lord, it is not life to live,
If thy presence thou deny;
Lord, if though thy presence give,
Tis no longer death to die;
Source and giver of repose,
Singly from thy smile it flows;
Peace and happiness are thine;
Mine they are, if thou art mine.

Whilst I feel thy love to me,
Ev’ry object teems with joy;
Here O may I walk with thee,
Then into thy presence die!
Let me but thyself possess,
Total sum of happiness!
Real bliss I then shall prove;
Heav’n below, and heav’n above.

The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady: To the Holy Spirit (Sprinkle Publications, 1987).

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: Give Praise to God

Give Praise to God Soli Deo Romans 11:33–36 Give praise to God who reigns above for perfect knowledge, wisdom, love; His judgments are divine, devout, His paths beyond all tracing out. Refrain: Come, lift our voice to heav’n’s high throne, and glory give to God alone! No one can counsel God all-wise or truths unveil to His sharp eyes; He marks our paths behind, before; He is our steadfast Counselor. Refrain Nothing exists that God might need, for all things good from Him proceed. We praise Him as our Lord, and yet we never place God in our debt. Refrain Creation, life, salvation too, and all things else both good and true, come from and through our God always, and fill our hearts with grateful praise. Refrain —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

All Times and Nations

The position which Christ ascribed to Himself in the world, sufficiently indicates that His death was, in the divine purpose, a provision for all times and nations, and that there was to be no repetition of the sacrifice. We shall briefly adduce His testimony to both these points. 1. With respect to all times, the sayings of Christ imply that He was the centre-point of the world’s history, to whom all previous ages looked forward, and all subsequent ages look back. The saints who lived under the time of the first promise, to whom the advent of the woman’s seed was revealed, or who expected Abraham’s seed, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, were saved by the retrospective efficacy of His atoning death, and not in virtue of a typical expiation, which was but a shadow of good things to come (Gen. iii. 15, xii. 3). The pardon . . . which extended to unnumbered multitudes during the ages preceding the birth of Christ, was due to the blood of atonement about to be shed in the fulness of time. The fact that the death of Christ is set forth in its retrospective, as well as in its prospective, influence, shows the vast superiority of the blood of the new covenant as compared with that of the old covenant. The one was merely for the Israelites, the other was “for many;” which may be interpreted for men of all times and generations, even for those who were long dead, but had faith on Him who was to come. This may warrantably be held to be there taught by our Lord (see Matt. xx. 28, xxvi. 28; John vi. 57). I shall not here adduce the statements in the Epistles, to the effect that the atonement had an influence of a retrospective nature, but content myself with saying, that this is set forth with peculiar emphasis in several passages (Rom. iii. 25; Heb. ix. 15). Our plan leads us to abide by the sayings of Christ. And we have more than stray hints from the mouth of Christ, that His vicarious death was retrospective as well as prospective in its influence. When we consider how He described Himself in contrast with all who ever came before Him, and condemned as thieves and robbers such as came with rival claims to His (John x. 1–7); when we hear Him speaking of the necessity of His death for the world’s salvation, as well as declaring that Moses, the prophets, and all the holy oracles testified of Him (John v. 39, 46); when we find Him here declaring that Abraham rejoiced to see His day (John viii. 56),—we have intimations which imply that He was the central figure of both economies, and that His incarnation and death had a relation to them who lived before His coming, and that their salvation was not less due to Christ’s atoning blood than ours. The scene on the Mount of the Transfiguration, moreover, when Moses and Elias appeared to converse with Him on His exodus or decease, about to be accomplished at Jerusalem, affords confirmatory evidence that the scope of that death had an application to all times. It was that on the ground of which they had been saved; for Christ was the atonement or sin-offering for the transgressions under the first covenant (Heb. ix. 15). 2. With respect, again, to the bearing of the atonement on men of all nations, Christ gave no dubious announcement that it was not limited to Israel, but had an influence which extended to those who were not of that fold (John x. 11), and that, in a word, it was irrespective of national distinctions. Thus He declared, on the occasion of the inquiring Greeks approaching Him with an express desire “to see Jesus,” and whose inquiries He regarded as the prelude or first-fruits of the wide in-bringing of the Gentile nations, that if He was lifted up or crucified as an atoning sacrifice, He would draw all nations to Him (John xii. 32). The same wide and universal reference of the scheme of redemption to all tribes and nations, wholly irrespective of the narrow limits of nationality, comes out in the other sayings of Christ where He alludes to the world and to the scheme of redemption in its bearing on mankind as such; who are addressed by the Gospel message, and summoned to the exercise of faith just because they are comprehended within the class for whom the atonement has been provided (John iii. 14–16). Hence the Lord directed His disciples to preach, with the most unrestricted universality, the remission of sins to all nations, and to announce it in His name as crucified and risen,—in other words, as the crucified Saviour, who offered an atonement for a people given to Him, without respect to nationality (Luke xxiv. 47). Christ may thus be designated the official Saviour of mankind, as men are contrasted with fallen angels, for whom no such provision is made; and on this ground the invitations of the Gospel, with all that is comprehended in them, are equally and without distinction made to all nations. Thus, irrespective of national distinctions or class distinctions, the invitation to accept a crucified Saviour applies equally to all tribes and ranks of men, and is offered indefinitely to all to whom the message comes. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 380–383.

Till Death Do Us “Art”

If God had wanted ink or additional holes in your body, he would have put them there. That’s not a joke; that’s my considered opinion on tattoos and piercing. I think God—who called his creation good—made you the way he wanted you to be, and if you’re not content with it, even grateful for it, there might be a sinful root to your attitude. However, being a sola scriptura man, lacking a biblical text that says so (Leviticus 19:28 is not that text), I can’t say tattoos or piercings, per se, are sinful. On the other hand, if you read the book of Proverbs, you will see that God has a rather negative view of folly. You might even conclude that folly is a product of sin. Therefore, if it can be proven that anything is foolish—well, draw your own conclusions. Sola scriptura prevents me from doing that for you. I do want to give you a practical point to consider. It’s probably nothing you haven’t heard before, but I’m going to say it anyway. Every day has its fashions. Most people, even those who eschew the latest fads, try to be somewhat fashionable. That is why—sadly—you don’t see a lot of men in proper morning or evening dress anymore. On the up-side, unless you’re a T. D. Jakes fan, you don’t see many zoot suits, either. Fashions change. We often look at pictures of the past and observe how elegant and distinguished our predecessors looked. Just as often, we laugh, or cringe, at them. That is why many of us have snickered at our parents pictures in their high school yearbooks, and why our children will do the same to us. My parent’s generation looked quite respectably. My generation? Give us a break. It’s hard to look good when you’re Stayin’ Alive. The good news is, though you may have worn a polyester disco shirt with bell-bottom pants and three-inch heels (mine were only two-inch), leg warmers, side pony tail, or mullet, you’re probably not wearing them now (for relevance, fill in your own generation’s goofy fads). You were able to take them off and throw them away, or save them for a costume party twenty years later, where, all in good fun, everyone will laugh about it. Now imagine being forced to wear the same clothing and hair style you chose ten, twenty, or thirty years ago every day, for the rest of your life. No sensible adult would ever do that, but that’s your tattoos and ear gauges. It may surprise you to learn that I’ve made some foolish choices in my life (no, really, it’s true). The story of my life is filled with “It seemed like a good idea at the time” moments. I’m just thankful none of them are archived in permanent ink on my body. Cab Calloway: “The zoot suit is the ultimate in clothes.”

The Nature and Extent of the Atonement (5)

To those who allege, in the spirit of the Arminian school, that the love of Jesus consists only in applying the redemption, but not in procuring it, it is enough to say, that love, in the proper meaning of the term, is anterior to both. It would not be love if it were dissociated from the purpose and design of conferring on its objects every conceivable good which can either be procured or applied. And whenever Scripture speaks of the divine love, either in connection with the Father or with the Son, this is the import of the term. This fact, that love is only love to persons, and that the divine love finds out its objects over all impediments, enables us to obviate the two-fold love, which the Arminian writers suppose, and for which they argue in the interest of their views,—one preceding faith, and another following it. The former, they allege, is to all alike, and therefore cannot be regarded as in itself efficacious to any; the latter they describe as an increasing quantity, and as a sort of complacential approbation of a state of mind or mental act which is acceptable to God. But the redeeming love of Christ, as the source of all saving benefits, does not, properly speaking, receive additions or increase, though there may be, and doubtless are, ampler manifestations of it, as well as a keener sense of it on the mind. This is emphatically brought out by Paul, when he sets forth the immutable constancy and omnipotent efficacy of the divine love in a remarkable argument à fortiori (Rom. v. 5–11). He argues, that if God could set His love on the saints when we were yet sinners and enemies, without strength and ungodly, much more shall that love be continued to them when they are justified. The argument is, that if God’s love found an outlet to us when we were aliens and enemies, much more will it be continued now that we are friends. But the foundation of the whole argument is, that His love is special and redeeming love, and directed to individuals, whom God will never abandon or let go. The text on which we already commented demonstrates the special love of Christ (John xv. 13). They for whom He died were the objects of supreme and special love, which of necessity secured their ultimate salvation. For them He must be considered as acting at every step; their names being on His heart in the same way as the names of the tribes of Israel were on the high priest’s breastplate. And the same special reference confronts us in every form. Thus He is described as loving His own that were in the world (John xiii. 1), which cannot be affirmed of all and every man, without distinction, and in precisely the same form. We have only to recall such phrases as co-suffering (1 Pet. iv. 1), cocrucifixion (Gal. ii. 20), co-dying (Rom. vi. 8), co-burying with Christ (Rom. vi. 4), to perceive that He bore the person of a chosen company, who are spoken of as doing what He did at every important turn of His history. It was for His own that He was incarnate (Heb. ii. 14); and He must be regarded, all through His history, as uniting Himself to His own, or as loving His own that were in the world, and loving them to the end (John xiii. 1). This special love, according to which He acted in the name of a chosen company, and laid down His life for them, is a love that finds them out over every impediment or hindrance. And it were to think unworthily of Christ, to suppose such a conjunction established between Him and the objects of redemption, as is presupposed in the very nature of this transaction, without the certain effect that salvation is secured to many by His death. It were as absurd as to suppose a king without subjects, a bridegroom, without a bride, a vine without branches, a head without the members. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 377–379.

The Nature and Extent of the Atonement (4)

Christ’s intercession is based on the atonement, and could have no validity or ground but as it referred to that finished work of expiation, which needs no repetition. Now, we see from the explicit statement of the Lord, that the intercession is not for the world, but for those whom the Father gave Him: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine” (John xvii. 9). This decides upon the scope and destination of the atonement for any available purpose; for it will not be argued by any divine biblically acquainted with the nature of our Lord’s priesthood and intercession, that any one ever was or ever will be effectually called but on the ground of that all-prevailing interposition (John xvii. 20). —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 377.

The Nature and Extent of the Atonement (3)

The purchase of redemption and its application are coextensive. The salvation is not won for any to whom it is not applied: the Christ will not lose one for whom He died. All our Lord's sayings assume this, and take it for granted (John x. 15). To suppose the opposite, would imply that a costly price had been paid, and that those for whom it was paid derived no advantage from it; which could only be on the ground that He wanted either love or power. Not only so: a concurrent action and perfect harmony must be supposed to obtain among the three persons of the Godhead. There can be no disharmony between the election of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the application of the Spirit. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 376–377.

Lord’s Day 23, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: The Heavens Declare
The Nature and Extent of the Atonement (2)
The Nature and Extent of the Atonement (1)
The Good Shepherd
Not for Myself, but for You
The Fruit of the Spirit Is Love

Lord’s Day 21, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: As Longs the Deer
Reconciled to Worship
Punishment versus Discipline
The Blood of the Covenant
A Real Sacrifice

Lord’s Day 22, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: It Is Good to Sing Your Praises
Life for the Dead
A Most Significant Type
An Empty Netser
Shadow and Substance
Sanctified to God by Christ


Who Is Jesus?

The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian

Norma Normata
What I Believe

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