Our Prayer Meeting is held each Wednesday evening at 7:30, and is generally divided into three parts
1. Bible Study (approx. 30 minutes). At present we are continuing our studies in the Psalms, the "Second Book" (Psalm 42-72).
2. Prayer Time (approx. 45 minutes). We pray for the needs of the congregation, those associated with the Church (individual prayer requests) and the work of the denomination in general and also our missionaries worldwide.
3. Fellowship (approx. 30 minutes) we have tea and coffee, snacks and a time of fellowship.
The first question that we have to ask as we analyze this is; in what sense the Lord used the word “church” in Matthew 18:16?
There are five usages of the word “church” in the New Testament. The first and fundamental idea of the Church is that of living union with Christ. Registration in this church is not by ink and paper. This is the spiritual body of Christ whose names are “written in the lambs book of life” (Revelation 21:27). From this primary idea of the Church as a living organism all other uses of the word church are derived. The second use of the term church therefore is that of the visible and practical organisation of this on the earth of those who outwardly profess faith in Christ. The third idea is the local organisation into congregations; those gathered together in one place to worship. The forth use in the New Testament is that of these local congregations uniting and associating under a common denominator, those forming what is known today as a denomination (Acts 8:1; 13:1). The fifth use of the word in the New Testament denotes a society of assembled believers as represented by their office-bearers and rulers (Matthew 18:17).
If Christ meant the local congregationwe might say that the Devil prevailed against the church in Ephesus or Laodicea, or in other places where the church split through some petty problem. We might say that the Devil prevailed in destroying a ‘church’ (an organized gathering of professed believers).
If Christ meant the denominationin the sense that we would speak of church today we might say that the devil has prevailed in any number of denominations that have unashamedly apostatized.
If Christ meant the representative church (Matthew 18:17) we might say that the Devil has prevailed on a local session level or deacon level to destroy the harmony of God’s people.
But If Christ meant the invisible Church then we have to say that nothing can prevail against the work of God in the heart of the most ardent sinner (Psalm 110:3). Satan cannot stand against the effectual call of the Gospel? The Devil is not able to extinguish the truth in the heart or to close the heart of those whom the Father has given to Christ (John 6:37; Acts 16:14).
Furthermore, the child of God is safe once he has been brought into the kingdom of God, none whom God has saved can or will be lost (Romans 8:35-39; John 10:28-29).
Let us briefly consider the visible Church. Has the visible church prevailed? We have to say that so far as the invisible Church has the visible Church has. There are a number of aspects that we need to keep in mind however.
First; our thinking is time related because we live in time and 1500 years is an awful long time for us. The longevity of trials was a continual and real problem for the Psalmist (Psalm 13:1; 35:17; etc.). But the Lord’s plan for his church is eternal and time means nothing to him.
Second; We ought not to gauge the success of religion by human standards. God was still in control and victorious even when Elijah thought he was the only faithful one left on earth. God had reserved to himself those who were faithful (I Kings 19:18 cf. Romans 11:4). In the last days there is going to be a “falling away” and a “waxing cold” but this does not mean that Christ’s Church is being defeated.
Third; The strength of the Kingdom of God ought not to be judged by the organized church. The reign of Christ is something that cannot be measured with the eye because the “kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) the Lord said. The church of Christ is first of all an organism and afterwards an organization. There are saints in strange places just as there were in Caesar’s palace (Philippians 1:13).
Fourth; Having said this, the history of the Church shows that before the reformation there were individuals who looked to Christ alone for salvation and did not follow the Roman Church. We have the writings of men in history, such as the Confessions of Patrick and those of Augustine (both claimed by Rome) and other writings that give evidence of a true and sincere faith in Christ. Furthermore there were organized groups throughout the history of the Church who were opposed to the Roman Catholic system such as the Culdee in Ireland, the Waldensians in France and Northern Italy, the Lollards in England and John Huss in Bohemia.
Fifth; The question therefore is not did the gates of hell prevail, but did the Church of Christ advance. Is there a church of Christ today? Yes, therefore the purposes or designs of hell (the thought behind “gates” used as a figure of speech) have not prevailed. The Church of God is advancing and hell cannot hinder that advance.
Even if one soul were in heaven, delivered from the Kingdom of Satan, and all others consigned forever to the flames of hell with Satan, the Lord would be the victor and preeminent over his creation (Colossians 1:18), having proved his power both to save the believing and damn the unbelieving. But the Scripture tells us that in heaven there will be a multitude which no man can number (Revelation 7:9). This is good news, that God has power to save from the dominion of Satan, and keep them!
With every major invention in the world it takes society time to adapt to it. This is true for things as common as the motor car: laws to regulate driving and safeguard passengers developed as the motor car developed. The same is true for everyday activities such as banking, fishing and air travel, etc. The days when one could set up a tent at a lakeside and fish at will have disappeared and full body scanners now adorn airports terminals where once a single security guard was deemed sufficient. The problem lies in the fact that with these innovative additions to life we are so taken with the advantages and endless possibilities that we fail to recognize the potential difficulties and the laws and regulations which restrict and protect are often developed in retrospect.
The same is true with regards to photography. The use of the digital camera together with the internet is an area that is still experiencing teething problems. Film photography was cumbersome compared to digital photography. It took time to focus and position the subject to ensure that frames were not wasted. However, with the quick autofocus of the digital camera people can shoot at will and delete unwanted photos later with no financial loss. As a result, photographs are taken that are off-guard and often impolite. The problem is compounded by the fact that many of these images are uploaded to the internet within seconds for the world to see.
With the juxtaposing of digital photography and the internet there is a code of ethics with regard to personal privacy that is fast on the road to extinction. There is a generation gap between the pre-internet mindset and the Millennial Generation that fails to take into account the personal feelings of those who do not share the same enthusiasm for publicity that many young people today do.
Let me illustrate: you are invited into a home (perhaps an older person) who feels a little uncomfortable with the spontaneity of a digital camera. Despite this discomfort the host “lets his hair down” and enjoys the evening with you. He is gracious enough to indulge you as you record the evening with photographs. When you leave the home you upload the photos to facebook to share your experience with others. This may seem of little consequence to the Millennial Generation, but to many of a pre-internet generation it is regarded as an invasion of privacy. Although written hypothetically, this sort of unwitting disrespect is common. When you abuse hospitality in this way you leave your footprint in that home and it becomes unwelcome (Proverbs 25:17 “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee…”).
There is more at stake here than mere social dysfunction or generational disconnect; there is the biblical principle of respect for others compromised. Someone of the Millennial Generation, which has a love-affair with publicity, might say I am “doing unto others as I would have them do to me.” (Matthew 7:12). This sort of reasoning is a misinterpretation of the biblical code of ethics. The principle goes deeper than the external activity to the internal feelings of the person. In other words while you might like photographs of you posted on the web, yet you do not like being disrespected or your feelings compromised.
General Rules of Respect for photographing
1. Respect Children: Photos of children in particular can put their lives at risk at the hands of child predators. Also if there are children of separated or divorced parents or foster children it is ill-advised to publicise their activity on the web. Photographs of children should be posted with great discretion and with the advice and consent of their parents/guardians.
2. Respect Adults: Adults are generally more aware that some activities are location and time oriented. For example, an adult may relax his/her decorum in a given situation which could not be appropriated transcribed to a world-wide audience. An adult may engage in youthful activities to accommodate a particular occasion and that occasion cannot be adequately relayed to all who view internet photographs.
3. Respect Personal Privacy: Many people are camera shy and prefer not to have their picture taken much less posted on the World Wide Web. This is a basic human right. There should be no secret photographing. i.e. no hidden camera’s.
4. Reflect: Photos or comments posted on the web are like thetongue; they reveal the heart and articulate who we are (Matthew 12:34 “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh”). Just as the damage caused by our tongue cannot be easily undone so a photo or comment on the internet cannot be easily retracted (cf. James 3:8). Put some thought into what photos or comments you post. As a general rule less and more specific is better than more and random.
What Photographs are Generally Appropriate for the Internet?\
1. Large group photos: Photo such as sports events, dining room shots, or posed group shots.
2. Distance photos: General photos where people are standing talking or engaged in normal conversation / activity.
3. Posed photographs: Photos where the subject is aware of the camera and has given consent to being photographed for web-publishing.
Confusion, disappointment, grief, frustration and a horde of other emotions have descended the followers of Harold Camping this evening in the wake of his second failed prediction of judgment day.
In New York, a retired 60 year old man Robert Fitzpatrick spent over $140,000 of his life savings on subway posters and outdoor advertisements warning of the May 21 Judgment Day. As he stood in Times Square in New York surrounded by onlookers, Fitzpatrick carried a Bible and handed out leaflets as he waited for Judgment Day to begin….When the hour came and went, he said: "I do not understand why ...," as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch, "I do not understand why nothing has happened."
Workers at the Family Radio headquarters wear dejection as visible as their “judgment Day” baseball caps. Family Radio offices display a sign reading “closed, sorry we missed you,” and Harold Camping cannot be found at his home where he said he would spend his final hours. His neighbour of 40 years said "I'm concerned for them, that somebody would possibly do something stupid.” The emotional turmoil that might cause someone to do something “stupid” is not the unfortunate possession of Harold Camping alone, but is shared by thousands of his followers around the world.
So what harm has all this done and what are his sins? It is ironic that while love covers a multitude of sin, it is also love that exposes the sins of men like Camping. The difference of course is the one speaks of the common imperfections in a brother (I Peter 4:8) and the other speaks of publicized and destructive sins, in this case of a false prophet (I Timothy 5:20 “Them that sin rebuke before all”).
It is necessary to expose this charade because it has been so public. If this were the ramblings of an old man living next door, one would “cover” it in sympathy and respect for age. Camping on the other hand, now airing his second prediction, has a multi-million dollar machine to spread it around the world and has therefore seen much success in numbers.
Another reason for his success in gathering followers is the fact that we are living in an age when men are given to religious delusion and charged with the “energy of deceit.” (II Thessalonians 2:11 cf. Romans 1:24).
Harold Camping is indeed a fool to be reckoned with. He enjoys a listening audience of millions around the world under the name ‘Evangelical’. This of course is a name that associates him with us, unfortunately, which lays in our lap the necessity to answer the inevitable (and warranted) criticism.
So what are Harold Camping’s sins?
First, his abuse of Scripture: In the face of clear biblical teaching regarding the obscurity of the coming of Christ, Harold Camping cultivated his already fertile imagination for over twenty years in this area of study. It is frightening to think that intelligent men and women could follow the mathematical machinations of an old man with such dedication. His cult-like following bore nothing of the spirit of the Berean’s who searched the scriptures.
He has caused the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme: (II Samuel 12:14) The atheists are having a party, the world is mocking the biblical teaching of the Lord’s return and the sober judgment of God has become a point of mockery; the boy has cried wolf too many times, and Harold Camping, like the shepherd boy has become a fable!
What ought to be the Christian’s Response?
Ought we to be grieved? Yes, that the name of Christ and the work of God have been mocked, and that mockery has been precipitated by the so-called Church of Christ.
Ought we to be fretful and disturbed? No.
The Christian ought to rest in the knowledge that God is still sovereign; He is not manipulated by the whims of men.
The Christian, like his Lord, ought to view the futile attempts of the world with contempt. (Psalm 2:4“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision”).
The Christian should rejoice that the church of Christ is still advancing. There may be rejoicing in hell today at the confusion of nominal Christianity, if indeed the devil can rejoice in his pitiable condition, but such rejoicing, if it exists, will be brief; the kingdom of God is still in power and the Lord tarries his coming only in grace. II Peter 3:9“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” He has other sheep, which he will bring in and is suffering long with the world to this end. The cry of the Lord’s people is “Lord, come quickly” (Revelation 22:20) but the Lord delays his coming so that needy sinners would come and find peace.
The Christian should also rejoice that the second advent of Christ will be a glorious one for those “who love his appearing.” This element of the Lord’s return was mournfully understated, if even mentioned in Camping’s campaign of terror. Adolph Saphir, the converted Hungarian Jew (1831-1891) said “no waiting of the second advent is healthy and purifying unless it is called forth by the contemplation of the great God and Saviour, who gave himself for us and redeemed us from all iniquity.” (Christ Crucified, page 9)
Subscribe to the thinkgospel.com daily devotionals. During the month of March we are looking at the life of Patrick of Ireland.
The Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of Dulia pays homage to a certain chosen few whom the church has deemed worthy of the title “Saint” with a capital “S.” These Saints are given a special day of celebration. Part of this veneration includes the Invocation of the Saints—praying to the saints. A special honour is given to Mary, of course, in the doctrine of hyperdulia.
This doctrine shows contempt to the common believer (as though God shows favoritism). More importantly, it was rightly regarded by the Reformers as “idolatry” and the holidays to saints as “corruptions” and “inventions.” Luther, in his Treatise on Good Workssaid, “Would to God that in Christendom there were no holidays except the Sunday.” John Calvin, in his Brief Form of a Confession of Faith stated, “I abominate the superstition which some have devised of applying to saints, male and female, as a kind of advocates for us with God.” This has been and remains the position of the Reformed Church.
Judging by the self-effacing manner with which Patrick writes his Confession, I have no doubt he would be horrified at this deification of man that Rome practices, not to mention the reveling that goes on in his name. It is clear Patrick certainly would refuse any overtures to beatify him—were he given the choice.
We are right to remember Patrick, but let us remember him with the same humility and purpose with which he regarded himself, desiring instead to exalt his Saviour. Insofar as he leads us to Christ in the ministry of his writings let us thank the Lord for Patrick and his testimony.
True prayer is conversation with God. In Deuteronomy 9:13 Moses writes, “The Lord spake unto me, saying,” and in verse 26 Moses says, “I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said.” We see this again in Daniel 9:1–4 when Daniel is reading the prophecy of Jeremiah and understands the will of God. In verse 4 he says, “I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said.”
Prayer then is our response to God. John said we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). And we could say the same about prayer: we speak to Him because He first spoke to us. When faith recognizes Him in creation and in His works of providence it cries out in praise and prayer. But it is in His Word especially that God speaks to us, and prayer responds in kind out of love to God. True prayer comprises two parts therefore: God speaks to us through His Word and Spirit and we in turn speak to Him in prayer. Without the Word and Spirit prayer is the superstitious rambling of fallen humanity, no matter how fervent (1 Kings 18:26f). There are also two types of prayer—continuous prayer (Luke 18:1) and closet prayer (Matthew 6:6).
Because prayer is a spiritual exercise—a simple conversation with God from the heart—and is not limited to ritual or procedure, Paul tells us that we can “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and “continu[e] instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), and the Lord Jesus tells us that we “ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1). Ironically, it is this spiritual simplicity that makes closet prayer extremely hard. The flesh fights against all spiritual exercises, the world distracts from all spiritual realities, and the devil tempts with empty promises. The path to prayer is a spiritual gauntlet.
But there is a second irony here. We cannot get to the place of prayer because of the gauntlet we have to run, and yet the greatest weapon in this battle is prayer itself. How can we overcome if we can’t get to prayer? The answer to this question brings us back to the beginning and makes us thank that Lord that He hears the simple desire of the heart: “Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart” (Psalm 10:17).
It is the humble who are prepared in prayer and are heard. Throw off all confidence in the flesh, all pride and reserve, and cry out to God for help. Whatever you are doing or wherever you are pray that He will enable you to overcome all of the obstacles to the place of prayer, that He will draw you with excitement and expectation into the closet to spend that coveted time with Him. As you make your way to the closet, be in prayer; as you resist the devil, be in prayer, and he will flee from you; as you meet with the distractions, be in prayer, and you will find that He who answers prayer will “prepare [your] heart” and lead you on into the closet.
Very often when my children ask me for something that they know they aren’t likely to get, I will try to lighten the moment by asking them, “Do you want the short answer or the long answer?” The short answer, of course, is “no.” The long answer explains why.
For many within the fundamentalist movement the question “Are you a fundamentalist?” needs the long answer. The reason for this is that fundamentalism is a nuanced web of historical, theological, and political complexities. You could throw into that mix a few prominent personalities.
The last thirty years have seen significant change in fundamentalist circles. David Beale, historian at Bob Jones University, identifies this change as the “neo-fundamentalist defection into broad evangelicalism” which he says began about 1970. This defection has increased exponentially in the last ten years.
The last of the “fighting fundamentalist” leaders has gone on to glory and the movement is struggling to remain intact. Many more senior fundamentalists are struggling to move into a post-Christian context and the younger generation has no interest in going back to rehash old wars (the battle-lines have shifted). Many are thinking through the issues, some significant fundamentalists are writing about the current difficulties, and some are trying to reform the movement, but large numbers are leaving. This past year three key fundamentalist schools were forced to close their doors. Fundamentalism is in decline, if it has not already expired. Those colleges that have survived have had to make substantial changes—perhaps too little too late.
This question identifies one of the major differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism (also between some Anglicans and orthodox Christians). The significance of this question also touches on a number of related issues in the Roman...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
We are having a Constitution and Ordinatination service for the Church here on 29th Sept. 2011 at 7.00pm. We have been able to get a group hotel rate with the Sandman Inn and Suites for those coming from out of town. If you want to take advantage...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Please remember that the Prayer meeting will be at the Malletts home the first two weeks of August. Remember also there will be no evening service Sunday 7th August. Communion Service at 10.00am and the morning worship at 11.00am only.
Picnic dates, July 21st, August 18th. Beaver Lake Park at 6.00pm. Bring your own!! Services in July: Rev Ron Barnes will be preaching 3rd July and then Dr. Frank McClelland 10th and 17th. Rev. Dunlop will be on holiday in July after the Youth Camp...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Picnic dates, Thursday’s June 23rd, July 21st, August 18th. Beaver Lake Park at 7.00pm. Bring your own!! Services in July: Rev Ron Barnes will be preaching 3rd July and then Dr. Frank McClelland 10th and 17th. Rev. Dunlop will be on holiday...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Adult Sunday School - Christ the Mediator - Our Priest (studies in the WCF, Ch. VIII) Morning Worship - Values: The School of Suffering II - Ecc. 7:7-10 Evening Worship - Does God speak through Circumstances? Matthew 26:74
10.00 am - Adult Sunday School Class - "Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant" (studies in the Westminster Confession of Faith) 11.00 am - Morning Worship - "Values: The School of Suffering" (Ecc. 7:1-10) 6.00pm - Sanctification - The Will of...[ abbreviated | read entire ]