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Lord’s Day 49, 2019

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


The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. —Isaiah 26:3–4

Hymn XVI.
Weak believers encouraged.


Your harps, ye trembling saints,
Down from the willows take:
Loud, to the praise of love divine,
Bid ev’ry string awake.

Tho’ in a foreign land,
We are not far from home,
And nearer to our house above,
We ev’ry moment come.

His grace will to the end
Stronger and brighter shine;
Nor present things, nor things to come,
Shall quench the spark divine.

Fasten’d within the vail,
Hope be your anchor strong;
His loving Spirit the sweet gale.
That wafts you smooth along.

Or, should the surges rise,
And peace delay to come;
Blest is the sorrow, kind the storm,
That drives us nearer home.

The people of his choice
He will not cast away;
Yet do not always here expect
On Tabor’s Mount to stay.

When we in darkness walk,
Nor feel the heav’nly flame!
Then is the time to trust our God,
And rest upon his name.

Soon shall our doubts and fears,
Subside at his control
His loving kindness shall break through
The midnight of the soul.

No wonder, when God’s love
Pervades your kindling breast,
You wish for ever to retain
The heart transporting guest.

Yet learn, in ev’ry state,
To make his will your own;
And, when the joys of sense depart.
To walk by faith alone.

By anxious fear depress’d,
When from the deep ye mourn,
“Lord, why so hasty to depart,
So tedious in return!”

Still on his plighted love,
At all events rely:
The very hidings of his face,
Shall train thee up to joy.

Wail till the shadows flee;
Wait thy appointed hour:
Wait till the bridegroom of thy soul
Reveals his love with pow’r,

The time of love will come,
When thou shalt clearly see
Not only that he shed his blood,
But that it flow’d for thee.

Tarry his leisure then,
Altho’ he seem to stay:
A moment’s intercourse with him
Thy grief will overpay.

Blest is the man, O God,
That stays himself on thee!
Who wait for thy salvation, Lord,
Shall thy salvation see.

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: O Lord, How Shall I Meet You

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You WIE SOLL ICH DICH EMPFANGEN O Lord, how shall I meet You, how welcome You aright? Your people long to greet You, my Hope, my heart’s Delight! O, kindle, Lord most holy, Your lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please You best. Love caused Your incarnation; love brought You down to me. Your thirst for my salvation procured my liberty. O, love beyond all telling, that led You to embrace in love, all love excelling, our lost and fallen race. Rejoice, then, you sad-hearted, who sit in deepest gloom, who mourn your joys departed and tremble at your doom. Despair not; He is near you, there, standing at the door, who best can help and cheer you and bids you weep no more. Sin’s debt, that fearful burden, let not your soul distress; your guilt the Lord will pardon and cover by His grace. He comes, for men procuring the peace of sin forgiv’n, for all God’s sons securing their heritage in heav’n. He comes to judge the nations, a terror to His foes, a light of consolations and blessed hope to those who love the Lord’s appearing. O glorious Sun, now come, send forth Your beams most cheering and guide us safely home. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, 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.

A new young monk arrived at the monastery. He was assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He noticed, however, that all of the monks were copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. Concerned, he went to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies. The head monk replied, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, the abbot went down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts were held in a locked vault that hadn’t been opened for hundreds of years. Hours went by. The young monk got worried and went downstairs to look for him. Finally, he found the old man sitting at a table with a dusty old manuscript spread before him, holding his head in his hands. He was weeping uncontrollably. The young monk asked, “What is wrong, Father?” “Look at the manuscript!” he bawled. The monk did so. The particular document before him was on the marriage of priests. “Yes, Father? What have you found?” With a choking voice, the old abbot whispered, “The word is ‘celebrate.’”

The Benefit of the Doubt

[Love] . . . believes all things . . . —1 Corinthians 13:7 Love is not ignorant or naïve, but when in doubt, it gives the benefit of that doubt. Furthermore, the one who loves would rather take the chance of being wronged than wrong another (1 Corinthians 6:7). Love believeth all things.—not that the Christian knowingly and willingly allows himself to be imposed upon—not that he divests himself of prudence and judgment, that he may be the more easily taken advantage of—not that he unlearns the way of distinguishing black from white. What then? He requires here, as I have already said, simplicity and kindness in judging of things; and he declares that these are the invariable accompaniments of love. The consequence will be, that a Christian man will reckon it better to be imposed upon by his own kindness and easy temper, than to wrong his brother by an unfriendly suspicion. —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:425.

Tongues of Angels

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. —1 Corinthians 13:1 What language do angels speak? I wouldn’t even try to guess, but if I did, I’d say Hebrew. Hebrew, after all, is the first language through which God has revealed himself to us, and I think it’s safe to say (though not with complete confidence) that it was Adam’s language, which he learned from God, but even if that is so, it doesn’t prove that Hebrew is the language of heaven. That’s one discussion we could have over this verse. Or, if we’re a little loopy, we could claim it as proof that “tongues” in the New Testament aren’t limited to known languages. But none of that is remotely relevant. It simply is not the point. When he speaks of the tongues of angels, he uses a hyperbolical expression to denote what is singular, or distinguished. At the same time, I explain it rather as referring to the diversity of languages, which the Corinthians held in much esteem, measuring everything by ambition—not by fruit. “Make yourself master,” says he, “of all the languages, not of men merely, but even of Angels. You have, in that case, no reason to think that you are of higher estimation in the sight of God than a mere cymbal, if you have not love.” —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:419.

Neither Envy nor Contempt

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. —1 Corinthians 12:26 A former United States President famously said, “I feel your pain.” That, of course, was mere political posturing. But for those of us who are members of the body of Christ, it ought to be a reality. In fact, we take it further yet: Your pain is my pain; how can I not care? Your gain is my gain; how can I be jealous? “Such a measure of fellow-feeling,” says he, “is to be seen in the human body, that, if any inconvenience is felt by any member, all the others grieve along with it, and, on the other hand, rejoice along with it, in its prosperity. Hence there is no room there for envy or contempt.” To be honoured, here, is taken in a large sense, as meaning, to be in prosperity and happiness. Nothing, however, is better fitted to promote harmony than this community of interest, when every one feels that, by the prosperity of others, he is proportionally enriched, and, by their penury, impoverished. —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:412.

Indistinct Sounds

Since I’ve been complaining a lot lately about the current state of “Christian” “music,” this is as good a time as any to post this excerpt from the archives. On singing: Rebecca shared a nice hymn on Sunday, complete with a performance of said hymn by Fernando Ortega. She commented that it was “one of the few versions I could find that was not sung in a breathy female voice.” She almost set me off on my own list of irritations with popular singers, but I saved it for you. Rebecca already mentioned breathy (kiss me, baby!) singing. I’ll add: growling, whining, moaning, groaning, panting, yelling, screaming, and any other vocal affectation. Just because your favorite pop singers do it doesn't mean you should. They shouldn’t, either. Please—sing with the voice God gave you. It might not be a great one, but trust me, it’s better than the one you’re faking. My most hated musical crime is poor enunciation. I’m not referring to the careless kind, although that’s bad enough, nor do I mean variations attributable to local dialects (although singing seems to neutralize those to a large extent). I mean the intentional kind, in which the singer pronounces words in ways he never would if he was speaking, because it’s cool. Come on, people. Get Hooked on Phonics. In conclusion, let me add a couple of verses ripped completely out of context: Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? —1 Corinthians 14:7–8

Lord’s Day 39, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Built on the Rock
Yes, I am aware of the theological difficulties with this one.
A Lifelong Process
Wanted: Andrews
Opinions, I Got
The Goal of a Faithful Christian Witness

Lord’s Day 37, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
So, Maybe You Can Divide by Zero
The Real Reason You Can’t Divide by Zero
The Content of a Faithful Christian Witness
God Is Faithful
Christians and Politics

Lord’s Day 38, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: On Christ Salvation Rests Secure
In the News
Equality with Inequality
The Manner of a Faithful Christian Witness


Who Is Jesus?

The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian

Norma Normata
What I Believe

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