BABES IN CHRIST
“…the Father has entrusted the keeping of His weakest child in Christ’s hands—even your soul, beloved, even though you be the weakest of the weak. A baby belongs to the family as much as the most oldest member. It has as strong a place in the parent’s heart and as valid a claim on its share of the family estate. So it is with the feeblest child of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 13th).
“Even if your faith is as weak as a single strand of a spider’s web, if that strand is attached to the rock, Christ Jesus, your salvation is absolutely secure” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 13th).
O FATHER, I believe as much as I am able. Help my unbelief. Please constrain me to feel the truth of this week’s questions.
CHRIST – A SUFFICIENT SAVIOR
“Christ…is the faithful interpreter…in regard to our salvation” John Calvin (ref#113, p636).
FATHER, do I depend on the merits of CHRIST? Am I confident CHRIST is a sufficient Savior (ref#63, p803)?
“What the ark was to Noah and the blood of the lamb was to the children of Israel, is what the atoning blood of Christ is to the believing soul. It forms his eternal security….Let the professor of Christ not leave the sealing of his pardon and acceptance to that fearful hour; let him earnestly seek it now, so that when he comes to die he will have nothing to do but die” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 24th).
Do I still have my original confidence in CHRIST (Heb 3:14)?
“Though God’s election is a truth,
Small comfort there I see,
Till I am told by God’s own mouth,
That he has chosen me.
“[Sinners, I read, are justified,
By faith in Jesus’ blood;
But when it me that blood’s applied,
‘Tis then it does me good.]” J. Hart (ref#224, #31).
THREE WAYS TO CHECK
“You should be looking at yourselves to make sure that you are really Christ’s….You ought to know by this time that Christ is in you, unless you are not real Christians at all….” (2 Cor 13:5-8 Phillips)
The FATHER has included in His Book many suggestions of how I can assure myself of His salvation. He makes Himself perfectly clear so I can be perfectly clear that I belong to Him.
“The famous Westminster Assembly of the 1640’s concluded that there are three grounds of assurance of personal faith: one primary ground – the promises of God; and two secondary grounds—evidences of grace and the witness of the Spirit” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 2nd).
The paths of assurance are three entities. And when they all agree they provide firm evidence that I am GOD’s child and always will be.
The three paths are:
The Word of GOD: “…The sure word of God lays down certain signs and marks of true grace, and witnesses these signs to be good evidences…” Puritan Daily Devotional Chronicles (ref#225, p136).
Our conscience: “…or our own spirit, witnesses that these signs are sound…” (ref#225, p136).
GOD’s own HOLY SPIRIT: “…God super-adds the witness of His own Spirit which enables us yet more fully to know the things which are freely given us of God” (ref#225, p136).
“…there should be a stated day on which they should assemble to hear the Law, and perform religious rites, or which, at least, they should specially employ in meditating on his works, and be thereby trained to piety” John Calvin (ref#187).
“Worship with reverence, seriousness, order, diligence, and attention. These inner traits of true worship are very important…” John Owen (ref#176).
“We cannot be devotional unless our minds are fixed upon the object of our worship; we cannot attend to God when gazing about the congregation” George Rose (ref#174). “Beware of indulging yourself in any practice which may have the effect of leading others to disregard the rest and sanctity of the Sabbath” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).
“…public duties that are necessary to the right sanctifying of the Lord’s Day are these:
- Affectionate prayer…
- Our reverent and attentive hearing of the Word of God, either read or preached…
- Singing of the Psalms…
- …administration of the [ordinances], especially that of the Lord’s Supper” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#182).
“When as we make God’s command our ground, we make God’s glory our [goal]) Thomas Case (ref#185).
THE TIME REQUIREMENT FOR SABBATH KEEPING
What motivates me to action is remembering a previous joy of similar activities. I have never moved myself into the LORD’s presence and been sorry I did. So each remembrance is sweeter. But time is required to get into His presence.
Preparing to take mushroom pictures is easy, however sometimes it is not pleasant doing it. While getting into GOD’s presence is difficult, once there it becomes the greatest joy. The hard part is moving myself into His presence.
“We must rest entirely, in order that God may work in us; we must resign our own will, yield up our heart, and abandon all the lusts of the flesh. In short, we must desist from all the acts of our own mind, that God working in us, we may rest in him…” John Calvin (ref#187).
“God’s rest is the rest of contemplation on the work that He has made, with all the penetrating influence, and sustaining power, and blessed oversight, that the divine contemplation must involve” R. A. Finlayson (ref#188).
“The worship due to the great Creator requires time for the contemplation of his attributes, as revealed in his glorious works. It requires time, also, to recollect all the manifestations of his wisdom and goodness in the dispensations of his Providence, and to give vocal expression to feelings of gratitude for the benefits received, and the happiness bestowed” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).
“If you are…in need of a spiritual tonic, go to the book of Acts, and there you will find this irrepressible joy that these people had in confirmation of the Lord’s promise” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 16th).
WE CAN BE HOLY AND ALSO HAPPY
“…remembering the Sabbath by keeping it holy is integral to…life as the people who are sanctified or ‘made holy’) by the Lord…” ESV Study Bible, (ref#125, p 196, [Ex 31:12-17]).
“…He [GOD] cannot compromise His holiness the least bit. His goal is to conform us to the likeness of His Son, and Jesus was completely without sin…(Heb 4:15)…we cannot…keep these commitments perfectly, but keeping them perfectly should at least be our aim” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p160).
“…men will never worship God with a sincere heart, or be roused to fear and obey Him with sufficient zeal until they properly understand how much they are indebted to His mercy…” John Calvin (ref#192, p161).
“…it is the continual reminding of ourselves of His grace and mercy that provides the only enduring motivation to sustain such a commitment and keep it from becoming oppressive. That is why we must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p162).
“Many contemporary Christians seem to think that if they don’t study their Bibles, if they don’t familiarize themselves with the standards and principles God has given in the Bible, they will not be responsible for their sins committed in ignorance. Not so!…we had better become careful students of the revealed Word of God, for it is disobedience to His word that constitutes sin” Bob Deffinbaugh (ref#196).
Again, we can be roused to fear and obedience by recounting His grace and mercy as we conclude He keeps us because we cannot keep ourselves. Therefore a great Sabbath exercise is to list present sins then list the ways CHRIST pours out grace and mercy.
“We are being influenced by the forces of sinful society or we are being influenced by the word of GOD. There is no third option” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p168).
THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE US PHYSICALLY
“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for physical…refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897, [Mark 2:27-28]).
“…this day…has been instituted in order that we might withdraw from all earthly anxieties, from all business affairs, to the end that we might surrender everything to God” John Calvin (ref#168).
“This day is a gift from God to be experienced as a delight and a joy—a day that shapes and frames your life, creates purpose, and structure and order and cohesion and a day that goes a long way to relieving panic ad stress” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon #2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath,” July 18, 1999).
“The Sabbath is good for man’s mind….The testimony of the famous philanthropist, Wilberforce, on this point is very striking. He declared that he could only attribute his own power of endurance to his regular observance of the Sabbath Day…he was satisfied that in every such case of mental shipwreck the true cause was neglect of the Fourth Commandment” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).
“The Sabbath is good for man’s body. We all need a day of rest. On this point…all medical men are agreed. Curiously and wonderfully made as the human frame is, it will not stand incessant work without regular intervals of repose” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).
THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE THE SOUL
“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for…spiritual refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897 [Mark 2:27-28]). “’The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mar 2:27). It was made for the profit and for the comfort of our souls” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).
“…there must be a special day set apart; there must be a regularly recurring time for examining the state of our souls; there must be a day to test and prove us, whether we are prepared for an eternal heaven. Take away a man’s Sabbath, and his religion soon comes to nothing” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167). “It is but a few steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God’—J. C. Ryle” (ref#185).
“…our Lord only asks that this day be spent in hearing his Word, in offering common prayers, in confessing our faith, and in observing the sacraments…And when we have spent Sunday in praising and glorifying the name of God and in meditating on his works, then, throughout the rest of the week, we should show that we have benefited from it” John Calvin (ref#168).
God’s objective in commanding this day of rest is for the development of our spiritual nature. Therefore, it is a day set apart from even our words and thoughts about our worldly employments and recreations [Westminster Confession of Faith] Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993). Can you imagine speaking only about spiritual things before and after the church service?
SABBATH BECOMES THE LORD’S DAY
“…there is no commandment in the Ten Commandments that says the Israelites were to keep the seventh day of the week….What God really commanded through Moses was: ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God’ “ (Exodus 20:9-10) R. A. Torrey (ref#30, p154).
“first day of the week. A Jewish expression for Sunday, and similar to the phrase used in the Gospels to describe the day of the week on which Jesus rose from the dead (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). This shows that Christians gathered for worship on Sunday, not Saturday (cf Acts 20:7; Rev 1:10), in order to acknowledge the crucial importance of Christ’s resurrection” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2216, [1 Cor 16:2]).
“…the Jewish holy day was abolished; and as a thing necessary to retain decency, order, and peace in the church, another day was appointed for that purpose” John Calvin (ref#187).
“Christ having risen from the dead always met his disciples on this day. And afterwards, the apostles and the churches were accustomed to come together on this day, “to break bread,” that is to celebrate the Lord’s supper. And when the apostle wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, it was already established as a custom, not only in the church of Corinth, but in the churches of Macedonia and Galatia, that their contributions for the poor, should be collected on this day. From the apostolical practice, we rightly infer the divine authority for this change. So generally was the first day of the week observed, in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, and for the celebration of religious worship, that in the times of the apostles, it had obtained the significant denomination of the Lord’s Day” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).
So, to Christians the first day of the week, Sunday, is the official Lord’s Day.