6th December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v23-28)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Four hundred years after Abraham came another great figure in the history of redemption called Moses. In Hebrews 11 we are told that Moses' parents were individuals of faith. The Apostle doesn't tell us their names but from the testimony of Exodus we know them to be Amram and Jochebed (Exodus 6v20). They believed in God's covenant promises and as a result they hid their baby boy Moses for three months.
Why was this necessary? The Israelites were in captivity in Egypt and growing in number each year. In an attempt to keep them under his boot, the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered that all Israelite baby boys were to be killed. Amram and Jochebed knew the promises of God and so feared the Lord more than they feared Pharaoh (v23). The life of Moses was saved and he would providentially become an instrumental figure in God's plan of redemption.
The faith of his parents was passed down to Moses and even though he grew up as a member of the house of Pharaoh he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter (v24). It would have been so easy for Moses to fit in and become like the Egyptians but instead he chose to be mistreated with the Israelites rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin which cannot last (v25).
Paul describes this as Moses seeing the "reproach of Christ" as greater wealth than all of Egypt's treasures (v26). What does this mean? "Reproach" means criticism and Christ's reproach came when He took on flesh and willingly submitted Himself to the demands of the Law and finally the cross. He was mocked and scorned and beaten and tried - Christ knew reproach in every way. Moses could have avoided it all. He had been raised in Pharaoh's home and it would have been so easy to become part of Pharaoh's family turning his back on the Israelites and the promises of God.
Yet Moses was a man of faith and he desired a heavenly reward over and above earthly treasure (v26). He swapped comfort for reproach. Eventually Moses murdered an Egyptian and had to flee but as he ran he wasn't afraid of Pharaoh for in the wilderness he met with the invisible God (v27).
Moses was keeping the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro when he saw a bush that was burning but not destroyed. From that bush the Lord spoke to Moses and told him "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3)
The Lord would send Moses back to Egypt where he would stand against Pharaoh and eventually Moses and the people would sprinkle the blood of lambs over their doorposts so that the Angel of Death would pass over them and not take the life of their firstborn (v28). This event was called "the Passover" and as time moved on the Passover meal would be replaced by the Lord's Supper which the church of Christ still enjoys today.
The Apostle's treatment of Moses is breathless - in just a few verses the life of this extraordinary man is highlighted and yet so much is left out. There is no mention of the Egyptian plagues, no mention of Moses receiving the law and no mention of Moses striking the rock in the wilderness and water gushing out. Countless books have been written about Moses and endless sermons have been preached. He lived an extraordinary life that is worthy of study and contemplation.
But what stands out in these verses is the simple truth that Moses was a man of faith who came from a family of faith. Amram and Jochebed defied one of the most powerful men in the world because they feared the Lord much more. Moses shunned the riches and comfort of Egypt because he longed for a reward that was permanent rather than fleeting. To Christian parents and grandparents - show your little ones the inestimable value of faith in Christ. Teach them how special the Lord's Day is. Sing your hearts out alongside them in church. Guide them through the Bible and help them listen to the Word read and especially preached.
To Christians everywhere - be thankful for those who have walked the path before us. Consider their lives and imitate their ways and never ever forget that everything this world has to offer is fleeting but Christ and His promises are more valuable than gold.
Q16 Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression? The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.
Read - Romans 3:21-22
Message - Alan Burke
We all know that words have meaning and I know that I am stating the obvious, yet it can be easy to assume that everyone understands what is meant when we use a word. I want to take a word that is used here by Paul and make sure that we know what it means before we try to unpack what it means for us. Before we do that, remember what Paul has been doing, he has been bringing us face to face with the reality of our fallen condition. He has left none of us in any doubt about it, of how that we have no hope in ourselves before a holy God. He has given us bad news after bad news, revealing that all that we deserve, that you or I deserve is the wrath of God.
BUT now is the time for the good news, and it is great news, for what we are told is “But now a righteousness…”. The word that we are going to think about before we go any further is righteousness. Righteousness, a biblical word that in effect means to have right standing before the Lord our God. It is not on anything that we have done or can do, actually the only thing that we contribute to the salvation we receive is the sin that made it necessary. Rather we have right standing before the Lord through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ that is imputed to us. Imputed means that it is given to us.
For us there is a righteousness from God that comes, v 22 through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. To explain this in the past to children I’ve used two simple gestures that we are all so familiar with, thumbs up and thumbs down. When God looks at us because of sin, what we get is a thumbs down, but when God looks at us because of faith in Jesus Christ and what has done for us we get thumbs up. The wrong has been made right. It is the righteousness from God that enables us to come before Him. It is not in ourselves, for even our best efforts in this life are fifthly rags, our best efforts are worthless for we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God, none of us can hope to stand before a holy God in our own righteousness. For us and all people everywhere the only way that one can come before a holy God is through the righteousness He provides. Our Lord and God justifies the ungodly, not the well intentioned.
Sinner, this is what God does for you and the key to receive this righteousness is not is not doing more, trying harder, it is through faith. Faith involves believing in what God has done through Jesus Christ, it involves trusting in God, in what He has said he would do and what He has done. Faith is a sure confidence in who God is, in His character, that He is who He says He is. Faith is based on assurance and that assurance is based on God’s character. Faith is a belief in God, not in what we have done but in God alone and faith is the vital organ that enables us to see the invisible order, to be sure of what we do not see and to wait for it with patience, even though we do not see the promises materialise yet, and in this we demonstrate true faith. It is not just head knowledge, it is total dependance of the person and work of Jesus Christ, that is seen in our obedience, an obedience that comes from faith (Rom 1:7).
Q15 What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein thy were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 3:6)
3rd December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v22)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Jacob's son Joseph lived until he was 110 spending the rest of his days in Egypt. Additionally he was blessed by seeing multiple generations of his family. But as each of us knows, death cannot be avoided. Joseph knew that his death was about to arrive and so he spoke words of truth to his brothers. The family at this stage were well settled in Egypt but Joseph reminded them that God’s promise still stood.
Joseph said “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Joseph had done well in Egypt. The Lord had blessed him with much favour and yet in his bones, Joseph knew that God’s plans for his people would not be fulfilled in the land of the Sphinx. One day God would visit His people in Egypt and bring them home.
Joseph wouldn’t live to see the glorious day but regardless he looked to it by faith. He made his brothers swear that they wouldn’t leave him in Egypt. After his death he was embalmed and placed in a coffin but one day Jospeh wanted his remains to go to the land of promise. He impressed upon his brothers “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
We can only imagine what Joseph’s life was like. The Scriptures paint a vivid picture but our minds are limited and time travel to see for ourselves is impossible. Regardless, we have much in common with Joseph of which we can be sure. Joseph was a man of faith who died without seeing the fulfilment of God’s promises. He died in a foreign land without setting foot in the land of promise ever again. Yet his faith did not waver and he was filled with a righteous anticipation that all things would be as God had promised.
I have no idea about the when, where or how of my death. I could currently be in the final year of my life or I might see my 100th birthday. Equally, the Lord may return before I breathe my last. As we gaze into the future we do not have all the information but with eyes of faith we can be sure that the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ.
At death we can be sure that our souls will be made perfect and go to be with Christ. During the intermediate state (the time between our death and resurrection) we will know unspeakable joy. At the second coming of Jesus we can be sure that our bodies will be raised imperishable and reunited with our soul. In eternity we can be sure that we will dwell with Christ forever in a world without sin.
None of this is “pie in the sky” nor should we be pitied for believing idle tales. God has promised and it will be so. Like Joseph, we believe even though we do not yet see in full, but a day is coming when our faith will be turned to sight. Until then we cling to the promises of God. On occasion we will cry “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9v24) but even so the Lord will remain faithful and He will preserve us until we cross the finish line. What a day that will be! We'll be finally home! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Q14 What is sin? Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
2nd December 2022
“First Posted 24th November 2021”
Read - 1 Samuel 8:4-9
Message - Alan Burke
In short, where we are is that Samuel’s sons whom Samuel had made judges (1) were using their position for their own benefit (3), the whole thing was a mess and the elders of the people came to Samuel to complain and they want a king to lead them (4-5). What they say is true, we might even think that they are justified in their desire for a king, but it was just a pretext for becoming like the nations around them.
Think about it, they were saying Samuel’s sons were the issue, well Samuel could have sacked his sons, but your not going to get that with a king. Kingship is hereditary, if Samuel’s sons were bad and he was a godly leader of the people, what would it not be like if the King’s son/sons were hellions, who was to say that the son or grandson of the king that they wanted wouldn’t just be a shambles.
Clearly what they had in mind was more than a change of leaders, what they wanted was a change of institution, they wanted a king because they wanted to be like everyone else. They were God’s covenant people, but this request is saying that they are unhappy with the way things work, the way God works, they wanted to be like everyone else. They had lived surrounded by the nations for two centuries and now they wanted to be like them, no longer were they happy to be different, to be set apart by God they just wanted to be like everyone else, but the problem is they in their desire they don’t want to do it God’s way, to live as God’s people they wanted to live like everyone else. As Samuel goes to the Lord it clear that they have not rejected Samuel but they have rejected God.
The bible not only reveal Lord God to us and our need for him, but also reveals how the human heart works and how we are. This is God’s people wanting a substitute for God, they had done it before when they served their Ashtaroths and Baals (7:3-4), they had substituted him for something else and that was false gods, now they want to substitute God for a king.
The human heart wants to take God and put something else, anything else in his place, our rebellious sinful hearts think that ‘thing’ what ever that thing is, is better! It can be any number of things, and it is what we need, we want it, we make ourselves think that we need it, we long for it, we even wished for it. But those things never satisfy, those things will always disappoint, they have consequences that we often never imagined at the time as the Israelites would find out. Instead what they needed as a people and what we need as a people is to have God at the centre of everything through Jesus Christ, knowing that a relationship with him is what we need, it is better than anything else that we can have and if he is our Lord then we will do what he says, it will be seen in our lives (Lk 6:46-49)
Q13 Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God. (Gen. 3:6–8,13, Eccl. 7:29)
1st December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v21)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
There will come a day that every one of us will die. I do not state this fact to annoy you or to ruin your day - I state it because it is true and it is essential that we face death by faith. Jacob knew that his day was coming and stressed to his son Joseph that he was not to be buried in Egypt. Jacob wanted to go home to Canaan and be buried in the promised land.
This in itself was an act of faith. Jacob was away from the land and his family had not yet possessed it but still Jacob wanted to be buried in home soil. He knew in his bones that the Lord would be faithful to His Word and one day the descendants of Israel would inhabit the land of promise. Jacob’s eyes may now have grown dim but they still shone with faith.
He told Joseph of the promises of God, how the Lord had appeared to him at Luz and promised to multiply his descendants and give them the land as an everlasting possession. Such was his confidence in this promise that Jacob wanted the sons of Joseph to share in it. He claimed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own and although the land was far away, Joseph’s sons would have a share in it.
This was a bitter sweet moment. Jacob’s life was coming to a close and he remembered his beloved wife Rachel whose death caused him much sorrow but at the same time he had once believed that he would never see his son again and yet in this moment Joseph and his two sons were at his bedside. Jacob invited his grandsons near to receive a blessing and so Joseph brought his sons to his father with the eldest Manasseh to Jacob’s right and the youngest Ephraim to his left.
Years before Jacob had also drawn near to his near blind father. In that moment he had used deception to receive the blessing. He had taken matters into his own hands despite the promise of God that the older would serve the younger. There would be no deception in Jacob’s tent, he crossed his hands and laid his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh.
This displeased Joseph for Manasseh was his firstborn and custom dictated that he should have the place of prominence, but Jacob had come full circle. Gone was the trickery of his youth and now he understood that the ways of the Lord were not our ways. Israel with eyes of faith gazed into the future seeing that Manasseh would be great but his younger brother would be greater still.
All of this would come to pass. The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would be great in number. They would have a share in the land. Joseph’s descendants would have the town of Shechem and he himself would one day be buried there. Every promise of God was yes and amen. It had been a long road for both father and son. Many years of heartache, imprisonment, strife,sadness and death had come upon them both but in this tender scene of blessing we see a mature and wise Jacob (now called Israel) blessing the sons of righteous Joseph. Israel’s life was coming to a close but his tired old eyes were filled with faith.
Brothers and sisters, each of us will one day die and it is of vital importance that we face it by faith. Israel summed up his life in this way “Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” (Genesis 47v9)
Perhaps you feel the same? Life has hurt and bitterness creeps upon you. Child of God, may the Lord soften your heart. His ways may seem beyond our comprehension but the Lord is working out His plans in our lives. Every promise of God is yes and amen in Christ and the one who believes in Jesus knows the richest of blessings. Live and die by faith regardless of your troubles for the one who gains Christ, will lose nothing.
Q12 What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.
“First Posted 3rd November 2021”
Read - 1 Samuel 5:1-5
Message - Alan Burke
It use to be when you broke stuff it got fixed, alright we do that still with some things like cars but do you remember the man who use to fix toasters, it might have been a woman who fixed yours but I remember a man. I didn’t know his name but when the toaster, the kettle, the TV broke, when I was a wain the thing got taken your ‘your man’, you know your man who fixed things. Now it’s just easier to throw it out and sure we can get it on line next day delivery sure. Well Dagon was off with your man getting fixed because the Lord God had so throughly broken him into pieces, I wonder though what they did without cement and super glue, anyway that’s not the point. The point is that Dagon the one who was supposed to be sovereign over all lay in bits, and the Lord God had defeated him.
Even without his people, in a foreign land, the Lord his working out his purposes, his people could have done with dwelling more of the question that they asked in light of their initial defeat to the Philistines when four thousand were dead, when they asked… “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today?” If they had understood that what the Lord required of them, their task, like ours is to honour him in all of lives, to remain faithful rather than trying to twist his arm to do our bidding and do what we want.
The Lord was not powerless, he is not powerless and he will have the victory. The ark was in Ashdod because the people had failed to live according to God’s way, they had turned from him, they had been faithless. What we are to do is to be faithful, to honour God, to live according to his ways, turning to him in his power, putting him first in our lives, living according to his will in this age of darkness.
As the church, what we need to know is that the Lord has the victory. The evil age that is under the influence of Satan, that is ever increasingly hostile to the Lord and his people, tells us to change, that we need to sort ourselves out otherwise we will be on the wrong side of history, we need to compromise if we want to survive and have anything to offer. But what we are to do is to remain faithful to the Lord God and to stand abasing the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). That we are to be faithful, knowing that the Lord will do it in his own time, he will do what he wants, he will make his glory known for he is not some powerless Dagon or the idols and false gods of this world he is the Lord God almighty.
Q11 What are God’ s works of providence?
God’ s works of providence are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31)
29th November 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v20)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
The story of Isaac and his two sons is a famous one and although the Apostle doesn't fill in the blanks it is well worth a trip down memory lane. In Genesis we meet Abraham's son Isaac and his wife Rebekah and in turn we meet their twin boys Esau and Jacob. The boys wrestled together in their mother's womb and the Lord told Rebekah “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
What did the Lord mean? His covenant promise would continue through the younger brother Jacob rather than the older brother Esau. As the boys grew, Isaac favoured his older son who was a hunter of game while Rebekah favoured Jacob.
This tension would eventually manifest itself in Jacob deceiving his father. Rebekah heard her husband promise his blessing to Esau and immediately leapt into action. She wanted the blessing to come to Jacob and so she made tasty food for her favourite son to present to his dad. Jacob then came before his father pretending to be his hairy brother by wearing goat skins and Esau's clothes.
The result was that the near blind Isaac thought Jacob was Esau and blessed his younger son by saying “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
Later he would be enraged by this deception and Esau would weep bitterly. Nevertheless he would have this to say over his older son Esau “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
Isaac's words were clear - the older brother would for a time serve the younger brother. The younger brother would know prosperity and nations would bow down to his descendants. If you read the story of this troubled family in Genesis 27 you will see that it is a tale of division, deception, anger and threatened violence. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. His brother made sure by stealing the birthright anyway. A wife moved against her husband and a son constantly lied to his father. It is a tragic tale and yet here in Hebrews 11 the Apostle reminds us of faith.
Isaac may have been deceived and tricked by his wife and son but Scripture interprets Scripture and tells us that Isaac nevertheless pronounced blessings on both his sons by faith. Isaac understood that God was doing a work in his family. The Lord was clear that two nations would come from the two boys. The older brother Esau would be followed by the Edomites whist the younger brother Jacob would be followed by the Israelites. It would be Jacob's descendants who would inherit the promised land and from them eventually would come the Saviour.
Brothers and sisters, we often act abysmally to one another. How many families have been divided by deception and trickery? How many of us have acted in sinful ways towards someone we are supposed to love? We even see it in church. How often do we slander fellow Christians? Sometimes we are as hasty as Esau, as sneaky as Rebekah and as deceptive as Jacob.
I thank God that the success of His promises don't depend on us or our wavering faith nor is God's plan of redemption derailed by our sinful actions. He is faithful even when we aren't and He will surely bring His work to completion. Thanks be to God.
Q10 How did God create man? God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
“First Posted 27th October 2021”
Read - 1 Samuel 4:19-22
Message - Alan Burke
From a human perspective what is going on here in chapter four keeps getting worse and worse. Israel had been defeated, thirty four thousand lay dead, including Eli’s sons, the ark of the Lord was captured and Eli had been dethroned and lay dead. Now we are told of the daughter in law of Eli who was the wife of Phinehas who was pregnant. The shock of the news of what had happened sent her into labour. Notice though that it is not the news of either the death of her father in law or her husband that induces this labour, it is the loss of the ark.
This is a heart wrenching scene, as we are told she was so overcome by her labour pains that she was dying. The women with her were trying to give her comfort in the midst of it all tell her that it is a son, but she didn’t pay any attention to it. Even though the birth of a son would normally have been a time of great rejoicing but this isn’t a time for rejoicing, how could it be, she’s a widow, there is no family left, she would have been destitute as a result and her son was an orphan.
And she named the son Ichabod, saying the Glory has departed from Israel. Just so we do not miss what is really going on, so we don’t think that it is the loss of her husband or her father in law, just so we don’t think her distress is because she is a widow leaving an orphan, we are told twice the reason, she named her son Ichabod for the Glory of the Lord had departed from Israel for the ark was captured.
This woman grief is great, it is hard for us to understand the significance of what had happened, in the midst of her loss, as she was dying it was the Loss of the ark of the Lord that was what grieved and worried this woman most. The Glory of the Lord had departed from Israel, this doesn’t mean that the Lord was no longer present in any sense, after all God is Spirit (Jn 4:24) and there is no place that he is not, he is omnipresent, he is the one who sustains all that there is, there is no place that he is absent from in his creation (Ps 139:7-12).
Yes symbolically the Lord had left Israel, but that does not mean that he had left everyone in the covenant community, he was there with his faithful people who knew and loved him, he remained with the faithful remnant, even though the nation as a whole had turned from him there was still the likes of Elkanah, Hannah, Samuel and many others who aren’t mentioned (Ps 23:4). Rather as we are told that the Glory of the Lord had departed, it is that he had taken his blessing from them, no longer would he protect them from harm, they had ceased to obey him.
This warning also comes to us in the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation (2-3), for there the Lord had threatened to remove their lamp stand, the warning went out… “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from it’s place” (Rev 2:5). It is a warning that the Lord would remove his glory, it is a warning to us, to every place that claims to be a church of Christ.
If the church of Jesus Christ ceases to obey God’s word, if it begins to tolerate sin and error, if it allows the behaviour of the people to go unchecked, it if turns the worship of God into a circus, then the Lord will remove his lamp stand if they do not repent!
Q9 What is the work of creation?
The work of creation is, God’ s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good. (Gen. 1, Heb. 11:3)
26th November 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v11-16)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Do you remember how Eve rejoiced at the birth of her son Cain? She had no clue that Cain would be a faithless murderer but she did know that God had promised a child who would crush the head of Satan. So with the promise of God ringing in her soul she declared "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord!" Cain wasn't the promised Saviour but his brother Seth would be included in the family tree of the promised Lord. Abraham would be mentioned in that family tree as well and miraculously so too would his son Isaac.
What was so miraculous about the birth of Isaac? His mother Sarah and his father Abraham were well past age when Sarah fell pregnant with her firstborn son (v11). Indeed when Sarah heard God's promise to bless her with a child she laughed. How could a woman of 90 and a man of 100 have a child? But Sarah's laughter would cease. She believed God and considered that He was faithful to all that He promised (v11).
Sarah miraculously conceived, Isaac was born and from this wee family came descendants as many as the stars in the sky and as the grains of sand by the sea (v12). Amazingly you and I are considered descendants of Abraham by virtue of our saving faith in Christ. We may not be physically related to him but we share the faith of Abraham and his wife Sarah. Paul explains it this way "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Galatians 3v29)
Abraham, Sarah and Issac all died without seeing the glorious fulfilment of God's promises but they "greeted them from afar" (v13). In other words they knew that even though they were strangers and exiles on earth they had a homeland and a country which was heavenly (v16). All of the Lord's promises may not have been fulfilled in their lifetime but regardless they knew that the promises of God were unshakeable and they would surely come to pass.
Faith believes that God can raise the dead. Faith believes that the Lord can bless an elderly couple with a child. Faith believes extraordinary and unseen things but faith in Christ is never misplaced and the faithful will never be put to shame.
Brothers and sisters, God is not ashamed of the faithful. We are at the same time justified yet sinful and on this side of glory we will fail constantly but the Lord remains unashamed of those who have believed His promises. We may know many hard days throughout the duration of our lives but our God has prepared for us a heavenly city (v16). We will dwell there at peace and we will never leave, it will be a place without sin or doubt or fear., a place were righteousness dwells and a place where Christ walks with His people.
I'm looking forward to that place. My faith is in Christ and my prayer is "come quickly Lord Jesus"
Q8 How doth God execute his decrees? God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Read - Romans 3:4-5
Message - Alan Burke
At the time to the Jews God’s righteousness was tied to his commitment to His covenant. Think of it like this, God has said he’d do it so it’s guaranteed because God said it. God said He would deliver His people, therefore that deliverance was guaranteed by the fact of God’s own righteousness. Therefore why not sin more then, our unrighteousness makes God look even better and God is unjust for bringing wrath on us. The forgets that God is a righteous God and because of it He is also wrathful, to be righteous He must deal with sin, it is a manifestation of His goodness that He deals with sin, that there are consequences for sin.
The same kind of thinking and argument is used today, it might sound a little bit different, but it is the same premise. “God’s love isn’t he, he’s good, he hates sin but he loves the sinner and he loves him unconditionally.” This attitude among many that their sin doesn’t matter to God, it just shows how loving God is. Sadly there are many so called ministers and teachers who send people to hell happy, who are happy to preach a universalism, that everyone goes to heaven. What they preach isn’t based on the teaching of scripture, it’s just they don’t like the concept of hell. Jesus himself when speaking of the final judgement in Matthew 25 said he will separate people, one from another, sheep from goats, those who have rejected him face the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25).
Paul is addressing the wrong view of grace among some, surmised in v8 “Let us do evil that good may result”. There is a more modern theological term for this objection because sadly it is one that is repeated throughout the history of the church but it is a failure to understand and appreciate the purpose and place of the law of God in the life of his people, whether that was the Jews of which Paul spoke of here or if it is us today. The theological term is antinomianism, it is named after a 16th century sect but it is the same issue that Paul was dealing with here in this argument. For the believer, one who has understood the gospel of God, who has tasted union with Jesus Christ Himself then it leads to a new love and obedience to the law of God. An obedience that comes from faith (1:5). There is a reason why we are told in James faith without works is dead, because if that obedience is not seen in our lives then we can try to fool ourselves but even the dogs on the street can see something doesn’t add up.
For anyone who thinks that falsehood enhances God’s faithfulness, that our sin shows God’s grace all the more, then there is an issue. Salvation is a matter of the head and heart, we believe it, we know it, we respond to it. Antinomianism shows that the heart has not understood the truth of the gospel and not responded to it.
Q7 What are the decrees of God?
The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. (Eph. 1:4,11, Rom. 9:22–23)