Thursday, January 24, 2008


BAPTISTS Distinctively Revolutionary Reformers

The Anabaptists

The Baptists number over 110 million worldwide in nearly 300,000 congregations, and considered the largest world communion of evangelical Protestants, with an estimated 38.8 million members in the USA.

According to Baptist historian H. Leon McBeth, Baptists, as a distinct denomination, originated in England in a time of intense religious reform. McBeth writes, “Our best historical evidence says that Baptists came into existence in England in the early seventeenth century. They apparently emerged out of the Puritan-Separatist movement in the Church of England.”

Some see the Baptists as the descendants of the 16th century Anabaptists (which some view as a product of the Protestant Reformation and others view as a continuation of the older pre-Reformation non-Catholic churches) and others see them as a separation from the Church of England in the 1600s.

Viewpoint: Baptist perpetuity

The Baptist perpetuity view (also known as Baptist succession) holds that the church founded by Christ in Jerusalem was Baptist in character and that like churches have had perpetual existence from the days of Christ to the present. Groups such as the Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Paulicians, Albigensians, Catharists, Waldenses, and Anabaptists, as predecessors to contemporary Baptists.

‘The Anabaptistst were not wrong, therefore, when they said that anabaptism was no new thing. The Waldensians had practiced it before them" (Ibid, II. 166). No one can certainly say whether they appeared first in the Netherlands, Germany or Switzerland, and their Ieaders were not confined to any one country, and seem to have had no especial connection with each other.

The Radical Reformation

Drowning of Anneken Jans, Rotterdam, 1539 (etchings by Jan Luiken 1649-1712 Martyrs Mirror, (1685)

Capture of Hans Smit, Hendrik Adamsz, Hans Bek, Matthijs Smit, Dileman Snijder, and 7 others, Aachen, 1558

Execution of about 350 persons, Alzey, 1529

Anabaptists: Mennonites, Amish,

Revolutionary Anabaptists: Münster,

Contemplative Anabaptists: Hans Denck, 1500-1525

Evangelical Anabaptists: Conrad Grebel, 1498-1526, Swiss Brethren, The Schleitheim Confession, Hutterites, Mennonites

Swiss Anabaptists Anabaptist movement developed in Northern Switzerland first.

Zurich was the early center. Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, is more specific than Luther. From the beginning of his work he was under the necessity of dealing with the Anabaptist movement. He says: The institution of Anabaptism is no novelty, but for three hundred years has caused great disturbance in the church, and has acquired such strength that the attempt in this age to contend with it appears futile for a time.

Conrad Grebel (1498-1526)

Grebel was born of a wealthy patrician family.

He worked with Zwingli until 1523.

Grebel gathered other “radicals” around himself.

The Swiss Brethren

On January 17, 1525, G. debated Zwingli on the subject of infant baptism.

On Jan. 21, Grebel & Felix Manz baptized (sprinkled) several adults.


Sola scriptura

Free church concept

Believer’s baptism

Earnest obedience

Against civil oaths


Suffering the key mark of the church

Plain worship

Infants and children without baptism are saved

In 1526, the Zurich council authorized drowning for Anabaptists. Grebel and Manz escaped. Grebel died in exile, of the plague, in 1526. Manz was recaptured and drowned in 1527.

By 1535, the Anabaptist movement was nearly nonexistent in Zurich.

German Anabaptists

Balthasar Hubmaier (1481-1528)

Hubmaier was educated at the University of Ingolstadt, under Catholic scholar and Luther debater, John Eck.

Hubmaier served as priest at Waldshut, near the northern Swiss border.

In 1523, Zwingli converted Hubmaier.

Balthasar Hubmaier

In 1525, Hubmaier and 300 followers were sprinkled. At Augsburg, in 1525, was a Baptist church of eleven hundred members. Hans Denck was the pastor, and he was of Waldensian origin.

In 1526, Hubmaier went to Augsburg to preach reformation.

Catholic authorities chased him to Zurich, where he was imprisoned, then banished to Moravia.

Hubmaier made 1000s of converts.

Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria had him arrested and burned in Vienna, March 10, 1528.

Dutch Anabaptists Menno Simons (1496-1561)

In the Netherlands (Holland), Anabaptism survived because of Menno Simons.

Simons was a Catholic priest who became an Anabaptist in 1536.

He refused to align himself with the Munster radicals. His followers were called “Brethren.”

After his death, they became known as “Mennonites.”

Anabaptist Doctrines

The Bible is the supreme authority.

Only adult believers should be baptized.

Separation of church and state

The church is the “company of the committed.”

Many were pacifists (esp. Mennonites).

Extreme millennial views, leading to socialism

Used small group Bible study extensively.


A brief survey of Church history reveals that Baptists have existed throughout the years, though for many centuries that existence bore the character of an underground movement. We might for instance quote the example of one Peter de Bruys living in the South of France at the close of the 11th century. He preached the evangelical doctrine of repentance and faith, and maintained that personal faith was a necessary prerequisite for valid baptism. His followers were known as Petrobrusians. Likewise in the Eleventh and Twelfth centuries many Waldensians were of Baptist persuasion. Their contemporaries the Cathari in Germany, clearly taught, that, baptism should be delayed until individuals come to years of discretion and that even then, only those who profess personal faith in Christ ought to be baptised.. It is by no means improbable that in our own country some of the Lollards of the 14th and 15th centuries held Baptist views. Dr Evans, in his' History of Early English Baptists', cites the following evidence for this-
'I have now before me a manuscript register of Gray, Bishop of Ely[ 1454 - 1479 ] , which proves that in the year 1457, there was a congregation of this sort[ Baptist] in this village, Chesterton... who privately assembled for divine worship, and had preachers of their own, who taught them the very doctrines which we now preach. Six of them were accused of heresy... and condemned to do penance, half naked with a faggot at their backs and a taper in their hands, in the public market place of Ely and Cambridge, and in the churchyard of Great Swaffam'.

Walter Lollard, a Dutchman, of remarkable eloquence, came into England, in the reign of Edward III., "from among the Waldenses, among whom he was a great bard or pastor." His followers rapidly increased so that Abelard declared "our age is imperiled by heretics, that there seems to be no footing left for the true faith." Knighton, the English chronicler, says: "More than one-half of the people of England, in a few years, became Lollards" (Knighton, col. 2664). Hallam says in his History of the Middle Ages: "An inundation of heresy broke in the twelfth century over the church, which no persecution was able to repress, till it finally overspread half the surface of Europe."

It is possible that the two forerunners of the English reformation were both Baptists. Wycliffe refuted the idea of infant baptism, believing that unbaptised children dieing in infancy were saved. William Tyndale the first translator/publisher of the Bible in English (A. D. 1484-1536) may have been a Baptist. He was born near the line between England and Wales, but lived most of the time in Gloustershire. "Llewellyn Tyndale and Hezekiah Tyndale were members of the Baptist church at Abergaverney, South Wales." There is much mystery around the life of Tyndale. Bale calls him "the apostle of the English." "He was learned, a godly, and a good-natured man" (Fuller, Church History of Britain, II. 91). It is certain he shared many views held by the Baptists; but that he was a member of a Baptist church is nowhere proved. He always translated the word eccleesia by the word congregation, and held to a local conception of a church (Tyndale, Works II. 13. London, 1831). There were only two offices in the church, pastor and deacons (1.400). The elders or bishops should be married men (I. 265). Upon the subject of baptism he is very full. He is confident that baptism does not wash away sin. "It is impossible," says he, "that the waters of the river should wash our hearts" (Ibid, 30).Baptism was a plunging into the water (Ibid, 287). Baptism to avail must include repentance, faith and confession (III. 179). The church must, therefore, consist of believers (Ibid, 25). His book in a wonderful manner states accurately the position of the Baptists.

The Anabaptists in England were called Baptists as early as 1569. Some hold that the first Baptist church in England met in London at Spitalfields in Southwark, from 1611.

There was a congregation of Protestant Dissenters of the Independent persuasion in London, gathered in the year 1616, whereof Mr. Henry Jacob was the first pastor; and after him succeeded Mr. John Lathrop, who was their minister at this time. In this society several persons, finding that the congregation kept nor to their first principles of separation, and being also convinced that baptism was not to be administered to infants, but such only as professed faith in Christ, desired that they might he dismissed from that communion, and allowed to form a distinct congregation, in such order as was agreeable to their own sentiments. By 1650, there were a number of Particular Baptist churches in and around London. In 1644, seven of them had drafted a confession of faith which showed some of their distinctive views.

John Smyth, England, 1570-1612
(14) That baptism is the external sign of the remission of sins, of dying and of being made alive, and therefore does not belong to infants.

(15) That the Lord's Supper is the external sign of the communion of Christ, and of the faithful amongst themselves by faith and love.

(16) That the ministers of the church are, not only bishops ("Episcopos"), to whom the power is given of dispensing both the word and the sacraments, but also deacons, men and widows, who attend to the affairs of the poor and sick brethren. [

(17) That brethren who persevere in sins known to themselves, after the third admonition, are to be excluded from the fellowship of the saints by excommunication.

(18) That those who are excommunicated are not to be avoided in what pertains to worldly business (civile commercium)

Do you notice that there are some beliefs that are held by the different groups that identify them as Baptists?

These are called Baptist distictives. They are distinctive beliefs that are different from other denominations.

Baptists arrived at these distinctives through careful study of the Bible. These teachings emerged as Baptist distinctives because individual Baptist churches have consistently and independently held to them, not because some group of Baptist leaders composed the list and then imposed the distinctives on local churches.    Church groups other than Baptists have held some of the Baptist distinctives, and one may even find churches that hold all of the distinctives but do not call themselves Baptist. On the other hand, some churches naming themselves "Baptist" are not truly Baptist because they no longer hold the historic Baptist beliefs or even the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

What Are the Eight Baptist Distinctives?

These teachings may be remembered by associating them with the letters that form the word "BAPTISTS."


Biblical authority

The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture's inherent authority.
2 Timothy 3:15-1715 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


Autonomy of the local church.

The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a "member" of any other body.    Colossians 1:18; And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23 1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: 23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

Priesthood of all believers    

"Priest" is defined as "one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God." Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God--whether we are a preacher or not.
1 Peter 2:5, 9 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Revelation 5:9, 10 And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed [people] for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.


Two ordinances

(believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper) The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord's Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins. Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32


Individual soul liberty

Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:22 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

Titus 1:9 holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.


Saved church membership    

Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Acts 2:41-47 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon)   

The Bible mandates only two offices in the church--pastor and deacon. The three terms--"pastor," "elder," and "bishop," or "overseer"--all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor (or elder or overseer) and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.1 Timothy 3:1-13 This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money,

Acts 20:17-38 Now from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: the • overseers and deacons.


Separation of Church and State

God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.

Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29

What sets one church apart from all the others? We have seen that it is the church's distinctive beliefs that set it apart from all others and that Baptists in general hold to some convictions that make them different from all other groups. Baptist churches will continue to hold to the Baptist distinctives because these distinctives are historically Biblical. They are relevant to the issues facing contemporary society and the church. So when "shopping" for a church, look for the name "Baptist" and then take a closer look to make sure that church is upholding the Biblical Baptist distinctives.


2 Corinthians 12 The Plan Of God In Your Sufferings

6 For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, 7 especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Today I am handling this in a very personal way. My daughter Bethany has been struggling in hospital with the effects of a very bad appendicitis situation. One of the young men at my church is today struggling with the violent death of his uncle and another relative in an explosion in the vineyards region of Newcastle yesterday.

Sickness happens. We’re sure of that. Suffering happens. Its obvious. Sometimes its good and godly people that suffer. Sometimes its us that suffers. Why? How? What are we to do?  

Is sickness merely part of the human condition in which all of us are potential victims? Is my sickness from sin, present or past, and a consequence for what I’ve done or failed to do? Is it Satan whose diabolic cursing brings us into physical ruin and weakness, or is sickness from God, in whose sovereign purpose and plan it is brought for my good and His glory? What do we make of Sickness and sufferings?

Former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, is thoroughly convinced that it is God who brings about healing in the human body. Surgeons are able to do many things. Koop comments on his own skill and describes how he, over a period of time, perfected a procedure resulting in 'invisible' scars [Horton, Michael, ed., The Agony of Deceit; C. Everett Koop, M.D., "Faith-Healing and the Sovereignty of God", Chicago: Moody Press, 1990, p. 169-170].

I was the one who put the edges together, but it was God who coagulated the serum. It was God who sent the fiberblasts out across the skin edges. It was God who had the fiberblasts make collagen, and there were probably about fifty other complicated processes involved about which you and I will never know. But did God come down and instruct the fiberblasts to behave that way? [Ibid]. In a sense, He did. But He did it through His natural laws, just the way He makes grass grow, the rain fall, the earth quake. The question, then, is not, Does God heal? Of course He heals! ...[But] is it normally according to natural laws or [is it due to] an interruption of those laws (i.e., a miracle)?. It is God who does the healing, but he does not regularly do so in a miraculous way. He heals according to His own natural laws" [Ibid. p. 175].

"...God is always operating on a supernatural level. He intervenes supernaturally in nature and in human affairs even today. I believe God can heal people apart from natural or medical remedies. I believe all things are possible with God (Matt. 19:26). His power has not diminished in the least since the days of the early church. Certainly salvation is always a supernatural act of God!" [Ibid. p.109]

Can God heal? Yes! Can he do so in extraordinary ways? Yes! Is the extraordinary normative today? No! So how do we understanding the sufferings that God allows in our lives?

We understand that God is good. But sometimes we wonder where He is when we are struggling with sickness. A young man struggles with cancer. Where is God in all this?

"The Lord does not afflict willingly" (Lam. 3:33)

The Lord is not at all like the mythical heathen gods of Mount Olympus who decide to throw a few hand-grenades of suffering into a family. "The Lord does not afflict willingly" (Lam. 3:33). He is not like a suicide bomber who capriciously chooses a bus, or a pizza shop, and knowing no-one there pulls a string and kills and maims many people out of sheer hatred for their race. Our human fathers were not perfect. Sometimes their discipline was over the top. They corrected us "as they thought best" (Hebs. 12:10). But in God there is comprehensive knowledge and measureless love. Nothing slips through without the Lord knowing. Peter writes to people going through the mill and he says to them, "now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (I Pet. 1:6). The suffering has had to take place. It was absolutely necessary.

1. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Providence of God

7 Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself.

The term "thorn" is variously translated as "stake" that might be used for impaling or torturing someone, or as a wooden staff or as a splinter. Why did Paul even bring up the uncomfortable subject of this own thorn in the flesh? Philip Hughes explains, "And it is most remarkable how, by a kind of condign paradox, the explaining of his deepest humiliation requires the revealing of his highest exaltation, so that the very point where his adversaries hold him to be most contemptible is linked with an ineffable experience far outshining the tawdry tinsel of their vaunting" [441].

Obviously, the "thorn in the flesh" is a metaphor of some point of great anguish, shame, or humiliation that corralled the apostle's tendency to vaunt himself or to be swelled with pride. The fact is, we do not know what Paul had precisely in mind by this thorn; lots of speculations have been made but no one can assert without doubt what constituted the thorn. Many ideas have been posed:

a. Physical-poor eyesight caused by some type of ophthalmia, such as, glaucoma; epilepsy, recurring malaria, earache, migraine headache, Malta fever which had severe pain, delirium, hair loss, and physical unsightliness; additionally, "hysteria, hypochondria, gallstones, gout, rheumatism, sciatica, gastritis, leprosy, lice in the head, deafness, dental infection, neurasthenia, an impediment of the speech" [Hughes 446].

b. Spiritual-unusually strong temptations to sins of the flesh, lusts, impurities of various sorts.

c. Emotional-"remorse for the tortures he had himself inflicted on Christians prior to his conversion" [Hughes 446].

d. Adversarial-Paul's opponents, such as Alexander the coppersmith, Hymeneus and Philetas, and others that fought against him, imprisoned him, and opposed him in the preaching of the gospel. This probably is the meaning, as the thorn in the flesh is called a “messenger of Satan”. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a pain in the neck.

Maybe the reason that we don't know precisely what constituted Paul's thorn is to keep anyone with a similar thorn from boasting of apostolic likeness, and thus falling prey to pride in experience of weakness. Or it may be to keep open the reality that "a thorn in the flesh" can come in any number of types, styles, and sizes for Christians in every age.

10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures.

For this reason, it is better for us to talk today, not just about sickness, but about sufferings.

2. Your Sufferings Can Demonstrate God’s Purpose

Whatever the thorn, it was enough to bring Paul low, to humble him, to remind him of his own inherent weaknesses in the flesh, and to keep his look toward the Lord of glory and grace.

God's purpose over and through Satan's harassment is our humility," writes John Piper. "Paul was in danger of pride and self-exaltation and God took steps to keep him humble. This is an utterly strange thing in our self-saturated age. God thinks humility is more important than comfort. Humility is more important than freedom from pain." That is staggering in an age when everything focuses on comfort, security, and ease. Yet God's purposes extend beyond this age to the age to come. "He will give us a mountain top experience in Paradise, and then bring us through anguish of soul lest we think that we have risen above the need for total reliance on his grace. So his purpose is our humility and lowliness and reliance on him"

Yes sometimes sin is the cause of our sufferings.

Obvious sins: Sin maybe the cause of our sufferings when we stupidly do things that will hurt ourselves.

Such as drink driving. Such as drunkenness. Such as anger and its repercussions. Such as pride and its problem of making us blind to ourselves. Such as arrogance, and the way it alienates people.

Unobserved sins.

Don’t forget, you are not the only one involved in your sanctification programme. The Lord knows best how to knock off some of the rough spots in our lives.

I was amazed to see how one of the most imminent theologians in Australia, a truly brilliant man, an academic of the highest order, and yet, unaware of how estranged to normal people he had become by his own brilliance was made humble and down to earth by the constant care that he had to give to his severely retarded daughter.

Unobserved Sin maybe the cause of some of our problems. The Lord is the one who is refining us. He has His eye on the thermometer as the pressure and heat get higher, He knows what we are going through. And He has his hand on the thermostat regulating the pressure and the heat. He knows how much we need, and of what sort.

Suffering sometimes draws our attention to a particular sin. There may be a particular phase you are going through, with more temptation to self-sufficiency, to become less dependent on the fellowship of the church, and on the ministry of the word. Then the Lord allows a demonic messenger armed with a thorn into your life, and immediately your attention is drawn to this growing sinful attitude. It deters you from letting that sin go any further, and it succeeds in bringing you back. So when we suffer we ask ourselves whether God is saying anything in particular to us. Are there any warnings here against any sins?

Does that mean that the man who suffers most must be the man who sins most? Of course not. Jesus of Nazareth suffered most and he sinned least! While it is the ungodly who enjoy great health - who sin the most! "This is what the wicked are like - always carefree, they increase in wealth" (Ps. 73:12). But the godly sigh, "All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning" (Ps. 73:14). So how can we work out what is God's purpose for us in our pain? I think the answer lies in the fact that we all have to grow in the same grace, but that we all possess different gifts.

We all have to grow in such graces as humility and patience and forgiveness, but we may be neglecting those virtues, and so God sends some teachers into our lives - one may be a very sensitive and hypercritical boss (your thorn in the flesh) - and we have to learn patience from this divinely sent teacher. God's teacher may be a difficult teenage daughter and we have to learn forgiveness and self-control in dealing with her. We may have some other form of physical pain such as migraine headaches and through these we learn long-suffering. We have been neglecting such graces and the Lord teaches them to us through pain. So all his children are given thorns in the flesh to help their growth in Christlikeness.

Listen to godly Samuel Rutherford: "O what I owe to the file, to the hammer, to the furnace of my Lord Jesus."

3. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Provision of God

8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Lord Jesus himself said these words to Paul and to each one of us. He is talking about grace.


When the Lord Jesus walked the earth, many clustered to Him to perform miracles of healing for them. People had heard of Him, what He taught, what He had already done for others...but probably as much as anything else, people had heard what He was like...LOVE INCARNATE! THE LORD JESUS WAS APPROACHABLE

Famous people can be intimidating and quite unapproachable...often by their own design so that they will not be bothered by people. Jesus was different, a distinctive Person who loved people and did not distance Himself from them, hide from them or push them away.

Instead, He loved them and offered them all that He could give them as freely and fully as possible. To illustrate the contrast between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day, we have only to look at the way they treated lepers.  In a series of cold-hearted reactions to the repulsive nature of the disease, the rabbinic traditions demanded that lepers cry out “Unclean” when they came near others (ostensibly to plead for prayer, but more to the point to warn others so that they might avoid them).  No one was to come within six feet of a leper, never touch them, and if the wind were coming from their direction a hundred feet was scarcely considered enough.  Some leading rabbis prided themselves on their purity from the defilement of the leper and would throw stones at them to keep them away, while others would not purchase or eat food if it had been sold on a street where lepers had recently passed by. In short, they were never to approach anyone but other lepers lest they suffer the humiliation and further harm that others might do to them.
Yet this leper saw in Jesus the kind of person who was at last approachable, someone who was real, genuinely loving and likely to welcome him and his cry for help.
Do people find you approachable?  Do you send signals out that you are not to be bothered and that you prefer to remain anonymous rather than allow anyone to come to find Jesus in you? The centurion sensed that Jesus would receive him as well, even though he represented an oppressive Gentile occupying army.

Jesus was approachable and communicated to others that they would be welcome if they came to Him. Do you know Jesus in that way?  Have you come to understand how much He loves you and invites you to come and be with Him?

In times of great pain and difficulty, it good for us to draw near to God.

Psa 22:11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.

Psa 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psa 65:4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

Psalm 73:22I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You.
23 Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards You will take me up in glory.25 Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. 27 Those far from You will certainly perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. 28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do.

Psa 73:28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Psa 119:151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.

Psa 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry for help and saves them. 20 The Lord guards all those who love Him, but He destroys all the wicked.

For it is as we draw near to Him that we discover His graciousness, His kindness, His compassion and His love.

There was something about the way He received people that led them to believe that He really cared about them. What a wonderful thing to understand that Jesus loves you!

If someone has ability and authority, but has no affection for you, why would you ever get your hopes up and think that their ability and authority would ever benefit you?

In the way He dealt with people, Jesus was able to communicate the depth of His affection for them, His genuine care for them as people, those for whom He came into the world.

Who do you turn to when you need what your resources cannot provide?  Government, family, church...or can you trust Jesus Christ to provide for you, to bring healing to your body, your home, your relationships, your broken heart?

Do you find Him approachable, capable, agreeable?  Do you believe that He loves you and will meet your needs in a way no one else can?  Then let us rise and go to Jesus and say, “Lord, if you are willing, you alone can save me, heal me, provide for my deepest needs.  Jesus, if you will, just say the word and it will be done.  Until then, I will keep believing, waiting and watching because I know that you alone are worthy of my trust.”

Every time of sickness or affliction should for the Christian be a special occasion for prayer. James 5:13 says, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray." Sickness should be an occasion for prayer. Just as when we are happy we are to sing, so, if we are sick, we should pray. This does not mean that in every time of sickness we are to ask for healing; it means that we should relate our sickness to the Lord and by faith place ourselves in the center of His will. The greatest blessing that can come to us in sickness is not physical relief but spiritual blessing; therefore, when sickness comes our first reaction should be to turn to the Lord. Matthew Henry rightly says, "One of the designs of affliction is to lead us to the throne of grace", and sometimes "He makes me lie down . . .", Psa. 23:2, so that in a lying position we can the more easily look up into His face.

14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.
15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

After private and individual prayer the prayer fellowship of others may he sought.

James 5:14 says, "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him." Notice the word "let". This method is commended, but not commanded. It is a great thing to be able to send for Christian brethren in order that prayer may be offered for us! Indeed, we may be too ill to pray for ourselves; and there is a very great strength in united prayer, look up Matt. 18:19, and compare Acts 12:5. But notice, so far there is no instruction to pray for healing. Look at verse 14 again. We are invited to send for the elders of the church that they may pray over us, anointing us with oil in the name of the Lord, not necessarily praying that He will heal! What, then, should be the attitude of the elders and of the sick person?

The eye of faith must look to the Lord alone for the revelation of Himself and of His will.

Verse 14 concludes, "anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit, and every spiritual blessing we receive, for the enlightenment of our minds, the strengthening of our bodies or the comforting of our hearts, is conveyed to us by the Holy Spirit. Then why use oil? Anointing with oil is not necessary for healing, but it is an act by which the prayers express their faith in God visibly and show they are trusting Him to perfect His will in the life of the sick person.

If it is God's will to heal in answer to prayer, a definite and specific gift of faith for the healing of the body will be given to the prayers.

Verse 15 says, "the prayer of faith shall save the sick", and when "the prayer of faith" is offered the Lord always raises up the sick person. But, "the prayer of faith" cannot be offered at will, because it is not always God's will to heal. If it is His will, those who are praying will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to pray "the prayer of faith"; but if it is not His will it will not be possible to pray this prayer. Job prayed for deliverance, but see James 5:11; Paul prayed for the removal of his physical infirmity, but see 2 Cor. 12:7-10; and read Phil. 2:25-30, and compare 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20. Sometimes it is not God's will to heal in answer to prayer. By faith some are killed, Acts 12:2; some are delivered, Acts 12:8-11; some "escaped the edge of the sword", Heb. 11:34; and others "were sawn asunder", Heb. 11:37. It is often God's will to heal, but it is not always so. When it is His will to grant healing the gift of faith will be imparted to those who pray. "The prayer of faith" is a certain kind of prayer, and to claim healing does not necessarily bring healing.

The use of natural and remedial means should not be ruled out when healing is being sought.

Healing can come:

(1) Supernaturally, by a direct touch from the Lord;

(2) By natural means, through rest, sleep, food, change of air;

(3) God may use remedial means, either medical or surgical.

It is not wrong to call in a doctor; on the contrary it is wise to do so. It is not for the patient to decide whether he is to be healed in this way or that, but the choice lies with the Great Physician who never makes a mistake and is perfecting His will in the lives of His children. But your first recourse must be to the Lord in prayer.

4. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Power of God

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Here is power to live for Christ, power to serve, power to worship, power to witness, power to resist temptation, power to remain faithful, power to exercise contentment.

The power of God is evident in Sickness Sustaining us.

It is only as we are crushed that we experience the power of God sustaining us.

"The thorn was a humiliating disability acting as a counterpoise to enforce the great truth that a Christian can only survive and achieve anything for God by a sense of his natural helplessness... God subjects us to a regimen of suffering because our usefulness is to be much greater"

It is only as we are crushed in Sickness that the power of God is evident in strengthening our witness.

Whom God uses He crushes. Think of the beautiful flowers that are crushed to make perfume. Its only when the lavender is crushed that its fragrant perfume becomes useful.

Paul found weaknesses to open the door, as he submitted to Christ, for Christ's power to tabernacle in him. "God's design is to make you a showcase for Jesus' power," comments John Piper [ibid]. In the midst of our weaknesses, when we have nothing to personally boast of, that's when Christ's power invigorates us and enables us. "He must increase, but I must decrease," declared John the Baptist (John 3:30). That is Paul's same message. The thorn brings us low so that we no longer look to our abilities and strength but look to Christ. We have to go in our weakness to God and cry, "Make me strong." We have to go in our emptiness to God and ask, "Fill me Lord."

5. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Person of God

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

In Suffering God removes our distractions

Matt 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, because they will see God.

It causes us to focus on what is important.

Henry Lyte wrote:

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me, They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me, God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, Show Thy face and all is bright.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same resolve—because the One who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin — 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.

In Suffering God reinforces our distinctive.

Psalm 23:4  Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Matthew Henry the great commentator once wrote:

The God of Israel, the Saviour is sometimes a God that hides Himself but never a God that is absent; sometimes in the dark but never at a distance.

3. Man may trouble and distress me, ’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

4. Go, then, earthly fame and treasure, Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure, With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father, I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather; All must work for good to me.

5. Soul, then know thy full salvation Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station, Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee, Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee, Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

"a thorn in the flesh" is something that we will instinctively ask the Lord to remove. There is a sense in which our struggle with sickness forces us to draw near to the Lord. If we are going to have to pray about this, we cannot avoid intimate fellowship with God in prayer.

In Suffering God reviews our destination.

6. Haste thee on from grace to glory, Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition, Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

President of Southern Baptist Seminary and a very brilliant young theologian Albert Mohler after a near death medical crisis of a clot going to his lung said: “I’m very, very thankful that I’m here with you today. It’s all of the Lord’s mercy, and I am very knowledgeable of that. I also know there will come a medical crisis I will not survive, and it will come for you as well. So we better decide what we’re going to do in the meantime. And in weakness and in fear and with much trembling, we had better preach the cross.”

An unknown soldier was killed during the Civil War. This prayer was found in his pocket:
I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of me;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I got nothing that I asked for - but everything I had hoped for.



2 Corinthians 12 The Plan Of God In Your Sufferings  OUTLINE

6 For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, 7 especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Providence of God

“a thorn ..was given to me”

2. Your Sufferings Can Demonstrate God’s Purpose

“so that I would not exalt myself”

3. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Provision of God


4. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Power of God

Christ’s power me.”

5. Your Suffering Demonstrates The Person of God

But He said to me”

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit. 19 My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Discipleship And WORK



Jerry works for a company that manufactures drill presses, the kind used in some of the more sophisticated machine shops. His supervisory position pays pretty well, but the money doesn’t make up for the sense of pointlessness that

eats at Jerry’s soul. “It’s the same thing day in, day out, year in, year out,” Jerry muses. “Organizing a bunch of guys to make machines that punch holes in metal so that the holes can be filled with screws!” When he was younger, Jerry had dreams of making a splash in the world for God’s Kingdom, but now the futility of the way he spends his time is grinding his life away. He struggles to get up each morning, prays for the clock to move toward 5:00, and longs for the weekend. Jerry’s problem is that he thinks God doesn’t care about drill presses. That means the way Jerry spends sixty percent of his day is irrelevant. And that means Jerry feels insignificant, worthless. He holds what we call the Two-Story view of work. This view carves life into “secular” and “sacred,” assigns most work to the “secular” category, and assumes that God cares only about the “sacred” areas of life, the “upper story.” But unless you can connect what you do all day with what you think God wants you doing, you will never find ultimate meaning in your work-or in your relationship with God, or in your life. To do something that matters, you must leave your work to participate in things that “count” such as counselling hurting people, Bible reading, praying attending church. But, of course, you can do these things only part-time (unless you quit your job and go into “fulltime” Christian work). So you are really just a part-time Christian, “just a layperson,” just a second-class citizen in the Kingdom of God

Where is God? In… heaven, no… He is everywhere!

The whole of life is where you can experience God.

Most Christians divide up their lives into three categories: (1) religious, e.g., going to church, reading the Bible, family devotions, and witnessing; (2) secular, e.g., work, hobbies, chores, or going to the movies; and (3) in-between, like family, which is partly secular and party spiritual.

Traditional parents, for example, would be much prouder of their son the priest, than they would of their other kids who were only doctors, farmers, and housewives. You see what I’m getting at, don’t you? It’s the idea that some parts of life are spiritual and others are worldly. That being a pastor or a missionary is full-time Christian service, while being a CPA or a garbage man allows for only part-time Christian service.

A great deal of the dilemma concerning the Christian who earns a living by means of “secular” work is the result of a false conception of work. Let me suggest just a sampling of some popular misconceptions of employment.

1. There is a great deal of confusion regarding the relationship of a Christian’s priorities to the expenditure of his or her time. Most Christians believe that their priorities should fall in this order: God, family, church, and – last of all – employment. If employment is one’s lowest priority and yet consumes most of a person’s waking energies, is this not unspiritual? No wonder the many hours one spends in secular employment is often viewed as wasted time. This idea is by no means a recent one.

Eusebius revealed this attitude as early as the fourth century when he wrote:

Two ways of life were given by the law of Christ to His Church. The one is above nature, and beyond common human living… . Wholly and permanently separate from the common customary life of mankind, it devotes itself to the service of God alone … . Such then is the perfect form of the Christian life. And the other, more humble, more human, permits men to … have minds for farming, and trade, and the other more secular interest as well as for religion. And a kind of secondary grade of piety is attributed to them (Demonstratio Evangelica).

We as Christians do not accept the categories. Everything is religious. The mum who changes the baby’s nappy is serving Christ no less than the missionary who’s preaching to the cannibals.

I Corinthians 10:31"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God".

Colossians 3:23-24, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…for you serve the Lord Christ".

The carpenter who eats a ham sandwich with thankfulness is spiritual while the pastor who serves the Lord’s Supper—while thinking about something else—is worldly! Or, the believing janitor who mops the floor well is doing the work of a saint. This is what the Bible teaches.

"Not only my spiritual life, but even my civil life in this world, all the life I live, is by faith in the Son of God" (John Cotton).

"We ought to so spiritual our affections that we may have heavenly hearts in earthly employments" (Thomas Gouge).

"The pious tradesman will know that his shop as well as his chapel is holy ground" (George Swinnock).

The last quote is the one I find most interesting. If I understand Swinnock, he’s not saying both shop and chapel are sacred. No, what’s he saying is Both shop and chapel are equally sacred. For a tailor, sewing a cuff well was an act of worship; charging a fair price was praising God. The effect this had on the farmer or blacksmith was revolutionary. He didn’t have to feel ashamed about what he did—shoeing a horse is equal to preaching the Gospel! But now—because all work is God’s work—he had to do it well. If sloppy sermons are sinful, then so is bad farming.

A quick word here to the kids and young adults: If God has called you to some secular field, like computers or accounting or construction, never let well-meaning Christians make you feel bad by telling you "You ought to be serving God". If you’re working hard and well and cooperatively, you are serving God. If "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they who dwell in it", …then all work is sacred and ought to be done for the glory of Jesus Christ.

But, “attitudes toward work among Christians are not much different from those in society." And Chuck Colson is correct when he asserts that "the loss of the work ethic does not begin in the workplace; it begins in the hearts of people -- in the values that motivate them or fail to motivate them."


All work is God’s work! This means that God’s Work is not limited to being a pastor, a theologian, a Christian school teacher, or a missionary nurse.

We must go back to Genesis 1 to discover the “cultural commission”

Genesis 1:26-28 states that, Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”

Psalm 111:1-3 says, “Great are the works of the Lord.” God is a worker. Work is a divine activity (Psalm 107 John 5:17; 4:34; 9:4) This alone tells us that work must be significant, that it must have intrinsic value. If God calls what he does “work”, and calls it good, then work has value.

God created people to be his co-workers. Humans were created in God’s image. Since God is a worker, humans who are created in God’s image, must be a workers as well.

In the opening chapters of Genesis, we learn that human beings were made in the image of God, to reflect his character; therefore, we are called to reflect his creative activity through our own creativity-by cultivating the world, drawing out its potential, and giving it shape and form. All work has dignity as an expression of his divine image...

When God placed the first couple in the Garden of Eden, he assigned them the first job description: Work the earth and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). Even in Paradise, then, in the ideal state of innocence, work was the natural activity of human beings.

He creates the first human beings and orders them to carry on where he leaves off: They are to reflect his image and to have dominion (Genesis 1:26). Though the creation itself is “very good,” the task of exploring and developing its powers and potentialities, the task of building a civilization, God turns over to his image bearers. “By being fruitful they must fill it even more; by subduing it they must form it even more,” For the Christian, there must be no dichotomy between the sacred and the secular because nothing lies outside of God’s created order. Our task is to reclaim that entire created order for his dominion. , Ecclesiastes 3:13 says that the ability to find sustenance and satisfaction in one’s work is

“the gift of God.” Thus every job is equally sacred! Here’s a list of quotes,

"If we look externally, there is a difference between washing dishes and preaching the Word of God, but as touching pleasing God, none at all" (William Tyndale).

"The action of a shepherd keeping sheep is as good a work before God as a minister in preaching" (William Perkins).

"This is a wonderful thing, that the Savior of the world and the king above all kings, was not ashamed to labor, and to use so simple an occupation. Here He did sanctify all manner of occupations" (Hugh Latimer).

Every job is a Divine calling. In other words, flipping burgers is no less a calling than pastoring a church.

"God doth call every man and woman to serve Him in some peculiar employment in this world…The Great Governor of the world hath appointed to every man his post and province" (Richard Steele).

"A vocation or calling is a certain kind of life, ordained and imposed on man by God" (William Perkins).

"God is the General, appointing to every man his particular post…God Himself is the author and beginning of callings" (William Perkins).

This means we don’t stumble into our jobs, but God gives them to us. And because He gave us the job, the job must be sacred.

Colossians 3:22-24,

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ".

The people spoken to here were not serving men, but the Lord. What were their occupations? Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers? No. They were slaves. They were plowing fields, milking cows, slopping pigs, washing dishes, and cleaning out chamber pots! Yet their jobs were God’s Work!

If all work is sacred, three things follow:

You ought to be content with your job,

"A Christian should follow his occupation with contentment…Contentment is no little part of your homage to that God Who hath placed you where you are" (Cotton Mather).

You ought to be good at your job,

"When God hath called me to a place, He would have His gifts improved to their best advantage" (Cotton Mather).

You ought to stick to your job,

"A Christian should not be too ready to fall out with his calling" (Cotton Mather).

The first two points cannot be denied. But the third—some think—is arbitrary and legalistic. Is it wrong to bounce from job to job? Inherently, it isn’t. But there are often sins behind the constant moving. What are they? Cotton Mather says,

"Many a man, merely from covetousness and discontent, throws up his business".

William Perkins adds two more, "Ambition and envy…when we see others placed in better callings and conditions than ourselves".

All work is good, because every job—from curing cancer to sweeping floors is from the Lord. Martin Luther wrote we see that, “the entire world is full of service to God, not only the churches but also the home, the kitchen, the cellar, the workshop, and the field of the townsfolk and farmers.


What is work for?

Most people would say it’s for money. If they had enough money, they’d never work again. Others are a little nobler than that—they work for the love of it. Or to support their families. All of these things are legitimate. We need money; we need something to do with ourselves; we need to take care of our loved ones. But as necessary as these things are, they’re not the highest goals of work. William Perkins writes,

"Must we not labor in our callings to maintain our families? I answer: This must be done: but it is not the scope and end of our lives. The true end of our lives is to do service to God in serving man".

The two chief goals of work, therefore, are: (1) the glory of God, and (2) the welfare of other people.

Mather says, "A man ought to pursue a calling so that he may glorify God".

How many students do you know who are going to college in order to help others? Very few. The most popular majors are the big money ones! Business, computer science, engineering, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with these things, of course—they too can be of great public service. But how many people are studying them to be of public service? Not many, I suspect.

"We must labor, not for our own good, but for the good of others" (John Preston).

"The public welfare, or the good of the man is to be valued above our own. Every man, therefore, is bound to do all he can for others, especially for the church and commonwealth" (Richard Baxter).

"We may not aim only at our own, but at the public good. Therefore, faith will not think it hath a comfortable calling unless it will serve, not only its own turn, but the turn of other men" (Cotton Mather).

Leland Ryken adds,

"What is noteworthy about such statements is the integration among God, society, and self that converges in the exercise of one’s calling. Self-interest is not totally denied, but it is definitely minimized".

We therefore, work—not mostly for money or prestige—but for God and other people. In doing that, they were but obeying the Two Great Commands,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind… And your neighbor as yourself".

If this is what work is for, you’ve got to choose your work carefully. Richard Baxter says,

"Choose that employment or calling in which you may be most serviceable to God… Choose not that in which you may be most Rich or honorable in the world, but that in Which you may do most good… "In choosing a trade or calling, the first consideration should be the service of God and the public good, and therefore, that calling that most conduceth to the public good is to be preferred".


How do we as Christians view success? The puritans came to America with nothing, and within a generation or two, created a society that was well off financially. Many of them became rich. And not only in America. English Puritans often did well, and so did their counterparts in Scotland, France, the Netherlands, and other places too. Did they attribute their success to their hard work or thrift? No they didn’t. They saw it as a gift of God.

"In our occupations, we spread the nets, but it is God who brings into our nets all that come into them" (Cotton Mather).

"Neither covetousness nor hard work can make men rich, since God alone blesses with success" (Robert Crowley).

"No direct correlation exists between wealth and godliness. It is not riches, but faith and suffering for the Gospel that are signs of election".

This means: When the Puritans did well—and they often did—they didn’t congratulate themselves; they thanked God, James 1:17.

It also means: They didn’t look down on poor people as being stupid or lazy. Richard Baxter says riches are given to some so that they can,

"Relieve our needy brethren".


Finally, we have two rules for work. The first is Work Hard, "Religion does not seal warrants to idleness… God sets all His children to work…God will Bless our diligence, not our laziness" (Thomas Watson).

The second rule is Don’t Work Too Hard, "Take heed of too much business" (John Preston). How do you know when you’re working too hard? Philip Stubbes says,

"Every Christian man is bound in conscience before God not to allow his immoderate care to surpass The limits of true godliness". In other words, if you’re working too much to pray or read the Bible or take care of your family or come to church, you’re working too much. Richard Baxter says the same thing in another way, "Take heed, lest under the pretense of diligence in your calling, you be drawn to earthly-mindedness, or excessive cares or covetous designs for rising in the world".

Elton Trueblood states,

Perhaps the greatest single weakness of the contemporary Christian Church is that millions of the supposed members are not really involved at all and, what is worse, do not think it strange that they are not. As soon as we recognize Christ’s intention to make his Church a militant company we understand at once that the conventional arrangement cannot suffice. There is no real chance of victory in a campaign if ninety per cent of the soldiers are untrained and uninvolved, but that is exactly where we stand now. Most alleged Christians do not now understand that loyalty to Christ means sharing personally in ministry, going or staying as the situation requires


Paul was appointed to a special ministry (1 Timothy 1:12), that of teaching and preaching the Word (2 Timothy 1:11). Moreover, he recognized the possibility that he might fail in the ministry (1 Corinthians 9:27) and expressed the hope that he would be able to complete it (Acts 20:24), which he seems to have done (2 Timothy 4:7). He spoke of Epaphras as a “faithful minister of Christ” (Colossian 1:7; 4:12), a description he obviously did not apply to everyone. He reminded Timothy of his consecration to the gospel ministry when the elders laid their hands on him (1 Timothy 4:14). There is nothing in the New Testament to suggest that men in secular employment were ever set apart to their work by the laying on of hands. All Christians are expected to work and witness for Christ regardless of their vocation; but only a few are called to leave everything and follow Christ in order to give themselves unreservedly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

The New Testament uses the term for call or a form thereof more than 150 times. However, the term is primarily used of the divine call to salvation, never to vocational ministry. “Let’s take a look at the word called as it relates to ministry. The Greek root is kletos, and lexicons define it as “called” or “vocation.” Paul wrote, “. . . think of what you were when you were called” (I Corinthians 1:26), and, “. . . live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1). The context clearly refers to all members in the body of Christ. Paul strung the same kind of thoughts together in Romans 1:1-8. Paul considered himself in a special category, since he referred to himself as an apostle. More important, he said he was “called” (Romans 1:1). But Paul’s teaching did not stop with himself. “You also are among those who are called….To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:6, 7). “Among those” referred to Gentiles, and the Christians in Rome were included in the redeemed community. Paul emphatically stated it again in verse seven, “called to be saints.”

All Christians are called. We are called out of the world and called into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to live out our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in our world, however God has gifted us to serve Him and to serve others. We are all called to Serve. The New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers. (1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:6) All believers are to be involved in ministry. This personal call is different for everyone; that its beauty – it is so intensely personal, tailor made for you, to match your personality, nature, gifts and circumstances.


• Through work we love people by serving them. God uses your work to meet people’s needs. If you are in your job simply to serve your own ego or comfort, then you definitely need to change your reasons for working.

• Through work we meet our own needs and those of our families. The apostle Paul explicitly says that we should pursue gainful employment to provide for our own needs (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). We are to work to provide for our families. (1 Timothy 5:8). Failing to try to meet the basic needs of one’s family is denying the faith. Why? Because it directly opposes God’s command to love those who are our own.

• Through work we earn money to give others (Ephesians 4:28). The overwhelming thrust of scripture is that as God makes up prosper, our abundance should spill over to benefit others who are in need (2 Corinthians 8:13-15). Scripture teaches that giving some portion of our income away is both a discipline and a privilege.

• Through work we love God. We love God through our work because in this work we are doing something God wants done. That is, after all, what it means to love God: to do what God wants us to do, and to do it out of a sincere desire to please him (John 15:9-15, Romans 13:10).

Often we think of the pastor or the missionary as the one who is involved in doing the will of God. Somehow the rest of us are doing only second or third best. But the Scripture teaches wherever God calls you is his will. God calls people in offices, and in garages, and onto farms, and as housewives, and as students. As we do our work we are doing the will of God. And as we do the will of God in our workplaces we can “adorn the doctrine of God” (Titus 2:10).


Divine healing.1.


Acts 28:1-10

1 Safely ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta.
2 The local people showed us extraordinary kindness, for they lit a fire and took us all in, since rain was falling and it was cold.
3 As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself to his hand.
4 When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man is probably a murderer, and though he has escaped the sea, Justice does not allow him to live!”
5 However, he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.
6 They expected that he would swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

7 Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
8 It happened that Publius’ father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him.
9 After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.
10 So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed.

Cognitive Dissonance.

Dissonance is the rough harsh and unpleasant effect of two tones sounded simultaneously which do not blend or fuse, attributed to beats which are too rapid to be separately distinguished.”

Dissonance is discord, incongruity, a lack of harmony. Cognitive dissonance is when there is incongruity and you know it.

Today the issue of healing is causing cognitive dissonance. We know there is something wrong when we hear people like Benny hinn call people forward to be healed of back aches and ear aches and head aches, but there is something uncomfortably wrong when we know that healings for real illnesses are non existent.

Something doesn’t ring true.

And then we read here in the book of Acts that Paul was healed and exercised a healing ministry “the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.”
1. Cognitive Dissonance About Healers

For six years author and speaker Joyce Landarf has endured an overwhelming and paralyzing kind of pain. It begins in her jaw and spreads across her face and head, its severity ultimately bringing on nausea and diarrhea. The medical diagnosis is TMJ, for temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and the affliction has caused her to curtail public appearances drastically. The ailment persists despite the efforts of many specialists using all known methods of treatment. In talking about her situation, Landorf describes the physical pain and the feelings of failure and alienation that came as she must cancel engagements and withdraw from social settings. She also wrestles with God over the reasons behind a physical problem that disrupts her ministry. And yet as Joyce Landorf reflects on all aspects of her suffering, she mentions one source of pain more troubling than any other: judgment from fellow Christians. A large and vocal branch of the church, it seems, holds that it is never "God's will" for a person to suffer. Following that dictum, these Christians presume all suffering to derive from one of two flaws in the afflicted person. Either the sufferer is being punished for some sin, or remains unhealed because of a lack of faith. "Confess your sin!" they tell Landorf, and also "You simply must exercise more faith." In truth, says Landorf, their haughty condemnation, coming at a time of such vulnerability, hurts worse than the physical pain itself.

Dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance. Something is wrong here.

Whatever one believes about the topic of healing dramatically influences his expectations when serious illness or injury affects a loved one or even oneself. Whatever theological position one takes on the subject, it is imperative that it be strongly substantiated by Scripture, lest he sincerely believe in promises that God never actually made. When this happens, tremendous discouragement, depression, and even disillusionment with Christianity can set in.

False teachings about healing have taken various forms but almost always contain a mixture of truth and error. Half-truths about divine healing fuel the injurious errors of our day. Let me alert you to some of these more frequent half truths so that you can be prepared to reject them.

1. Because God wills that Christians enjoy His blessings, sickness shows that you are out of His will.

2. Sin is the root cause of sickness; therefore you must resist sickness as you would sin.

3. Since Christ died for your sickness and your sin, you can be freed from both.

4. If you had enough faith, you would be healed.

5. What you confess is what you possess; so talk sickness and you will get sick; talk health and you will get well.

6. All adversity comes from Satan; so sickness, like Satan, should be rebuked.

7. If you only knew the secret fact of God’s healing power, you could be healed.

8. Since Christ and the apostles healed in their day, Christians can heal today.

9. Since sickness is from Satan, nothing good can come from sickness.

10. Since God wants you well, never pray, “Thy will be done” in regard to healing.

11. Since sin is the cause of sickness, if you are sick, then you have a pattern of sin in your life.

12. God has healed you, but the devil is not letting the symptoms leave.

False Practices

Thousands of people could testify how painful these half-truths can be. Dr. C. Everett Koop recalls a particularly brutal episode.

We hired an investigative writer to look into some of the cults and into faith healers specifically. Our investigator traveled to a Southwestern city where a healing campaign had been advertised some weeks in advance….

Among those who applied for healing was an elderly Christian gentleman who lived out on the prairie. His vision was becoming dim, and he most likely was developing cataracts. The only lighting in the little cabin where he lived was a kerosene lamp. He was a devout Christian, read his Bible daily—or tried to—and had all the faith necessary for healing, if faith indeed does secure healing. His major complaint was that his sight had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer read his Bible.

On the night of his appearance before the healer, the old man was brought up in the atmosphere of a sideshow. The faith healer said, “Well, Pop, you can’t see anymore. You’ve gotten old, you can’t even see with your glasses. Your vision is failing.” Then he reached over and took off the old man’s spectacles, threw them on the platform, stamped on them, and broke them. He then handed the elderly gentleman a large-print Bible, which, under the lights necessary for television in those days, enabled the gentleman to read John 3:16 out loud, to the astonishment and applause of the audience. The elderly gentleman praised God, the healer praised God, the audience praised God, and the old man went back to his dimly lit cabin and could not find his Bible, because his glasses were destroyed. The man went back to the healer but was told the most discouraging thing a godly man like that could possibly hear: “You didn’t have enough faith, or the healing would have stuck.”

The Christian community must come to grips with the fact that it is extremely rare when a reported healing begins to match up with the biblical model. When God miraculously healed through the prophets, Christ, or the apostles, these qualities, among others, characterized the healing:

1. It was immediate.

2. It was public.

3. It took place on ordinary, unplanned occasions.

4. It included illnesses that were untreatable by the medical community.

5. It was complete and irreversible.

6. It was undeniable, even to detractors.

2. Cognitive Dissonance About Biblical Teaching About Healing

These were called miracles BECAUSE they were unusual. This wasn’t normal. Even among God’s prophets in the Old Testament and among the early church of the first few centuries it was unusual. Why was it unusual, and why were these miracles usual int eh ministry of Jesus and the apostles.

Christ’s healing ministry served various purposes; all of them primarily contributed to authenticate the person of Jesus as the true Messiah. The healing miracles were never performed merely for their physical benefit. Matt 8:17 – A fulfillment of the messianic prophecy in Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Matt 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

(also Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24) – So people would know that Christ had the authority to forgive sins

Matt 11:2-19 (also Luke 7:18-23) – To authenticate the messianic ministry for the imprisoned John

Matt 12:15-21 – To fulfill the messianic prophecy in Isa 42:1-4

John 9:3 – That the works of God might be displayed in Christ

John 20:30-31 – That men might believe that Jesus is Christ

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

– God’s authentication of Christ

To Authenticate the Apostles revelation recorded in the New testament Hebrews 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions [of gifts]from the Holy Spirit according to His will.

2 Cor 13:11 I have become a fool; you forced it on me. I ought to have been recommended by you, since I am in no way inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of an apostle were performed among you in all endurance—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

Healing Had Direction

Although Jesus’ miracles abounded, He did not perform them indiscriminately, nor did He always heal everyone who needed healing (see John 5:3-5); neither did He perform signs upon request (see Matt 12:38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.); nor would He use His powers to avoid the cross (see Matt 26:52-53).

Healing Declined

Paul’s frequency of healing declined with the passing of time.

Gal 4:13-15 – Paul was ill you know that previously I preached the gospel to you in physical weakness, 14 and though my physical condition was a trial for you, you did not despise or reject me. On the contrary, you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus [Himself]. 15 What happened to this blessedness of yours? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

Phil 2:25-30 – Epaphroditus was ill But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus—my brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and minister to my need— 26 since he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was sick. 27 Indeed, he was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have one grief on top of another.

1 Tim 5:23 – Timothy was ill ..”your frequent illnesses.”

2 Tim 4:20 – Trophimus was ill “Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.”

Neither John nor Peter mention historical instances of first-century healing in their epistles and Revelation.

Healing is noticeable in the OT (over 4,000 years), overwhelming in the Gospels (about three years), occasional in Acts (about thirty years), and negligible in the epistles (about forty years). The apostolic age ended, and miraculous healing by direct human intervention ceased.

Healing Is Demoted

Those who promote an unbiblical emphasis on divine healing tend to focus on 1 verse only. Its found in

Look at 1 Pet 2:24 carefully:  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Can you see it? “By His wounds you were healed.”28 What does Peter mean? How does this apply to you and me in this life? If it applies physically, then why aren’t all Christians healed? Has God’s Word failed? Has God lost His healing touch? Are the Scriptures mistaken?

Two foundational truths help get us off to a right start in understanding

Peter and divine healing. First, every human being, when conceived, possesses a congenital spiritual defect—a sin disability that needs to be healed. Second, Peter addresses our need for spiritual restoration in 1 Pet 2:24 with his discussion of

Christ’s provision of salvation’s healing.

With those two thoughts in mind, look closely at the parts of 1 Pet 2:24-25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Then, when reassembled, you will be able to understand the whole because the parts

have been identified. Our text explains five elements of salvation:

1. The fact of salvation (verse 24a): “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross”

2. The purposes of salvation (verse 24b):“ that we might die to sin and live to righteousness”

3. The means of salvation (verse 24c): “…for by H is wounds you were healed.”

4. The need for salvation (verse 25a): “For you were continually straying like sheep….”

5. The result of salvation (verse 25b): “…but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

First Pet 2:24 has everything to do with spiritual healing, which the Bible calls salvation. In fact, 1 Pet 2:18-25 means just the opposite of what most healing advocates teach. Peter argues that since Christ physically and spiritually suffered for our spiritual healing (vv. 21-24), then we should be willing to suffer physically in this life at the hands of men (vv. 18-21), because we have already received God’s healing promise for eternal salvation (vv. 24-25). Peter actually validates the divine purpose in human suffering rather than eliminating it. After all has been studied and written, I believe the Bible teaches that God can sovereignly choose to heal whomever and whenever, but it will not be a frequent occurrence nor will it be done through human healers because:

1. The gospel is good news about our sin problem, not our sicknesses (Rom 3:23; 6:23).

2. Christ’s atonement focuses primarily on our sins (iniquities), not our sicknesses (Lev 16:1-34; Isa 53:5-6, 11-12; 1 Pet 2:24).

3. Christ died for our sins, not our sicknesses (1 Cor 15:3).

4. Christ was made sin, not sickness (2 Cor 5:21).

5. Christ forgave our sins, not our sicknesses (1 John 2:12).

6. Christ gave Himself for our sins, not our sicknesses (Gal 1:4).

7. Our bodies are corruptible and, thus, subject to sickness (1 Cor 15:42-44).

8. We will all die physically (Heb 9:27).

9. The NT “healing promise” refers to salvation, not physical healing (1 Pet 2:24).

10. Our hope while on earth is heaven, not healing (Rom 8:24-25).

One day the world will be free of AIDS, cancer, heart conditions, diabetes and every other malignancy that has come into our world through man’s sin at the fall.

The biblical position is to accept sickness as one of those all things that God can use to work together for good for those who love God. Although at salvation we are given heaven as a free gift, and eternal life as a free gift, we have ti wait until we go to heaven to get there. We have to wait for heaven to be free from all disabilities and illnesses in this life. Romans 8:23.. we ourselves who have the Spirit as the • firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Healing Distracted

The New Testament records 37 miracles1 that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry. These include sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, health to the sick – and many other tremendous miracles supernaturally performed by Christ.

Which one was the greatest? If you analyze them they were wonderful but ALL were only temporary.

o The paralyzed, lame, mute, and blind that Jesus gave back eyes, fingers, toes, and skin eventually lost them all again when they got sick and died some years later.

o Peter’s mother-in-law was miraculously set free from a fever but years later died of other causes which may also involve a fever.

o The food miraculously created by Jesus was consumed by the five and four thousands, and used up – and hunger returned the next day.

o The eyes restored to blind Bartimaeus were used, worn out, and dimmed by the time he died.

o The hearing that the deaf received were subject to the natural downward slide of the human body and faded most likely by their death.

o Those dancing feet after Christ's touch that the lame possessed, soon turned to a shuffle and then stopped working altogether as they lay in bed awaiting death many years later.

o Lepers who found fresh new skin and limbs saw them again return to wrinkles, weakness, and finally immobility as circulation, respiration, and digestion all slowly were assaulted by the weight of many years.

o So yes, Jesus performed many miracles – but all of them but one were TEMPORARY.

So, which was the greatest of all Christ's miracles?

The answer is the one that never faded, never aged, never ended. It was the miracle unfaded by time, untouched by health, unaffected by circumstances. That miracle, the greatest miracle is the one that Jesus Christ is still doing in our midst today. It is the miracle that I have personally experienced. It is the miracle that most of us in this room have also experienced. It is the greatest of all Christ's miracles – the miracle of complete forgiveness.

1 Cor 1: 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

1 Cor 2:1 When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Though the NT sign/authenticating “gifts of healings” have ceased, the possibility of God healing without human healers is certainly possible today. However, when He does heal, it will be characterized in a manner similar to His healings recorded in Scripture.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


CAN THE SAVED BE LOST? Romans 8:28-29

Questions Christians Ask   (AUDIO HERE)

8 Reasons Why A Saved Person Can't Be Lost
Romans 8:28-30. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Amos 3:2 (AMP) You only have I known (chosen, sympathized with, and loved) of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your wickedness and punish you for all your iniquities. KJV 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

1. God’s Purpose To Save You Makes You Secure

2. Nothing can separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus your Lord.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

3. When you are saved, you are made perfect forever.
For by one offering He [Jesus] hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

4. Our Lord always finishes what He begins.
Being confident of this very thing, that He [God] which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen (Jude 24–25, KJV).

5. You are predestined to be like Jesus.
He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works. (Titus 2:14)

6. You are in Christ.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

7. You already have eternal life.
He that heareth My word, and believeth on him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (Jn 5:24)

8. The Lord Jesus Christ is ever interceding for you.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. (John 17:9)

Saturday, January 05, 2008




Thursday February 14th  at 2 pm and  then again at

7 pm at the Newcastle  Baptist Tabernacle 


Don't miss this tremendous opportunity to hear acclaimed speaker Ann Cretin from the Southern Baptist Convention's Lifeway organisation.

Ann, with her husband Steve has been a missionary for many years throughout Asia, serving the Lord through conference work.

Ann will be introducing us to The Search For Significance.

Have you ever struggled with feelings of inferiority?

Do you find that guilt sours your relationships and governs your life?

Do you struggle with who you are and why you are here?

You need to hear Ann.

Some resources will be available for purchase, but this FREE conference will be an unmissable experience for your wife.

The second session at 7:00 pm will repeat the teaching of the afternoon, so that you can encourage friends or family members to benefit from this wonderful opportunity to hear and meet Ann Cretin.

Again, this seminar is FREE! Elsewhere you would have to pay hundreds of dollars to hear a speaker like Ann, but, as an introduction to Lifeway Christian education materials, these seminars are free.

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