Volume. XXVI, No. 44
Sunday, 29 April 2012


Trust and Obey & Living To Please The Lord


Articles by Rev Ian Hamilton, adapted from Banner of Truth Trust dated 18 March 2004 and 17 June 2004 respectively. (With permission from New Life BPC, London)

 

TRUST AND OBEY

During Samuel Rutherford’s time in London, where he was a delegate from the Church of Scotland at the Westminster Assembly, two children from his second marriage died. He wrote sorrowfully of this to another bereaved parent: "I was in your condition; I had but two children, and both are dead since I came hither ... The good husbandman may pluck His roses, and gather in His lilies at mid-summer, and, for aught I dare say, in the beginning of the first summer month ..." (from London 1645 to a Mrs Taylor).

What is so striking about Rutherford\'s letter is its humble submissiveness to God\'s sore providence. To lose one child would be the sorest of trials, to lose two in quick succession must have been an unimaginable trial. Some will no doubt be thinking, "In those days death was a more everyday fact of life than it is today; it was not uncommon for children to die in infancy." True. But do you think that a Christian father or mother could ever easily and painlessly lose even one of their children? However common or inevitable the death of a loved one is, their death pierces our heart. Love does not easily give up to death the one it loves. But Rutherford\'s letter speaks to us of a man who, though his heart is aching, humbly submits to the wise, gracious and loving sovereignty of "the Good Husbandman."

It is one of the most evident (and sweetest) marks of saving faith, that the Lord enables us to acquiesce humbly and not grudgingly in the face of dark and sore providences. To be able to say, "the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” is a mark of faith at its purest and highest. None of this is a mere matter of temperament. On the contrary, such humble, submissive faith is the fruit of a heart that has begun to grasp the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The whole course of our Saviour\'s life was a course of humble submissive obedience to his Father\'s will. Never once did our Lord Jesus murmur or complain as he endured reviling, rejection, slander and worse. Rather, "he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." Our Saviour is the experiential model of humble submissive faith and it is God\'s predestinating purpose to conform us to his Son’s likeness. That "likeness" is nowhere more beautifully and movingly etched for us than in Philippians 2:5ff. There we see the selfless humility of Jesus, who "made himself of no reputation" and humbled himself, becoming "obedient to death -even death on a cross." As he walked, in faith; the pathway of unimaginable suffering, our Saviour never once complained, never once questioned the love of his Father. Even in the Garden, as the dawning reality of the cross began to pierce his soul, he prays, "Not my will, but your will be done." The essence of faith is trust; and Jesus to the end trusted his Father.

It is union with this humbly submissive Jesus Christ that believers are brought into through the gospel. Those believers whose faith most glorifies God, are not those who fluently can talk about it, or insightfully write about it, or passionately preach about it, but those who humbly trust God when all around their soul is giving way. God\'s ways are not our ways. He is God. His purposes towards his people are the product of his perfect wisdom, gracious sovereignty and electing love. Here we see through a glass darkly. Here, our fragile, earthen vessels are only too easily cracked by perplexity and pain. What will keep us from losing heart, and complaining bitterly, is the persuasion that "he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things."

The quiet dignity of a "bruised reed", humbled under God\'s almighty hand, is a beautiful sight to behold. It is a testimony to the grace and love of an unseen God. It tells the people of God that God can be trusted, even when all earthly hopes are dashed. Such grace truly is a "rare jewel" - it sparkles and gives lustre to every Christian profession it adorns.

 

LIVING TO PLEASE THE LORD

Peter Marshall was a Scotsman who became the Chaplain to the United States Senate in the late 1940\'s. He wrote some words that speak powerfully to our morally decaying society and to an evangelical Christianity that has its focus in all the wrong places.

"The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge -that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other type of women: beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women. But so seldom do we hear of a godly woman - or of a godly man either, for that matter. I believe women come nearer to fulfilling their God given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife, than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realms of morals to be old fashioned, than to be ultra-modern. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct." (Peter Marshall, former Chaplain to the United States Senate).

I wonder how you are reacting to these words? You could tell a lot about the state of your spiritual life, I think, by your reaction to Marshall\'s analysis. Christian virtue is rarely eclipsed overnight. Usually it is eviscerated by the slow process of being conformed to the prevailing pattern of the age. If you live in the midst of squalor, and everyone around you sees the squalor as normal, it takes unyielding courage and conviction to stand against the squalor and resist its embrace. Too often today, evangelicalism seeks to dress itself in the world\'s clothes, in the hope that it might thereby gain a hearing for the gospel. Now it is true that Christians are to become "all things to all men, so that by all means we might save some." But in no sense does this mean that we are to share the world\'s values and lifestyle. Consider our Lord Jesus Christ. He exemplified what it means to identify with this fallen, sinful world: "And the Word became flesh." He shared the frailty and vulnerability of our humanity. He entered into the darkness of our sinful predicament. And yet, he remained "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners." He shared our condition, but not our sin. Indeed, he never once temporised, or tried to hide the absolute moral standards of God from sinners. What he said was given authority by who and what he was.

We live in an age that is seeking, willfully, to subvert the biblical foundations of society. At the heart of those biblical foundations are the God-ordained roles of Godly male headship, and Godly female submission. It is tragically true, that many men, Christian men, have abdicated their God-ordained calling in their homes and made it difficult for their wives lovingly to submit to their headship. Nothing would more persuade a Christian woman to rise to her God-ordained calling, than having a husband who loves her as Christ loves the church, who loves her children, and who faithfully, gently and unyieldingly, leads the family in making God\'s word and not the world\'s enticements, the pattern of life.

It may well be costly, indeed it certainly will be costly, but Christians must "dare to be different." First, of course, for God\'s honour and glory. Second, for the good of our own souls: "do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." But thirdly, if we do not dare to be different (i.e. live the values of God\'s word), then our evangelical testimony will be little more than hollow, pathetic words that the world will mock and ignore.

I have recently finished reading Brian Moynihan\'s biography of William Tyndale. My abiding impression of this fine work is that Tyndale, and others like him (e.g. John Frith) dared to be different. They refused to fit in with the prevailing ethos and expectations of their society. It cost them their lives, but the impact of their lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel was enormous. Dare to be different. Not to draw attention to yourself. Not to show your Christian brothers how "Reformed" you are. Dare to be different because the gospel of your Saviour has brought you into the ethic of a better world, whose King is the Lord God Almighty. Live to please him.


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Yvone Kam.

*Sunday School Picnic - Parents, please let Dn D’Mello know if you & your children are coming - by today.

*All are encouraged to attend Adult Sunday School or History & Theology of Calvinism Classes.

*This evening: Please come for Evening Worship Service

*2012 Family Easter Bible Camp CDs & Media - order forms available at the foyer notice board.

*Catered Fellowship Lunch today: Adult $5, Child under 5 years old - free.

 

Looking Ahead

*Sunday School Picnic, Sat, 5 May, 10 am - 1 pm.

*26th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 27 May.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Dns Joyce Gong (Per/Adl); Families & friends of the late Auntie Oei (Overseas); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (Syd/Adl); Bros Raymond Chia (S’pore), Samuel Ki (BH), Joseph Selvanayagam (Adl) & Daniel Volvricht (Adl); Sisters Arum Han & family (Whyalla/Adl), Monica Tan (Melb/Adl), Felicia Tan, Serene Wong (S’pore) & Peng Ha Yeo (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations.

2. Church Activities - over the past week.

3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

4. Successful surgery - Bro Len Pearson.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

6. Anniversaries: BPCWA (Perth) - 26th Anniversary (Apr/May 2012), Covenant B-P Church (Perth) - 2nd Anniversary (May 2012) & Evangel B-P Church (PJ) - 6th Anniversary (May 2012)

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Margaret Pearson & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai) & Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Sis Nary Li’s pregnancy - normal foetal development.

3. Cambodia Missions - Bro Chanton & Sis SiangLai (Siem Reap); all our brethren in Cambodia.

4. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

5. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry

6. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

7. God’s Comfort - Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & families; & others who are grieving.

8. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim & Ministry (Esperance, WA).

9. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

10. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

11. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

12. House of Hope, Cebu, The Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.

13. Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin Wong (PNG/Adl); Bros Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Chen Ooi (NZ); Sisters Arum Han & Tina Kour & family (Adl); & others who are travelling.

14. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

16.  Uni Placements: Bro Samuel Ki (Broken Hill) & Sisters Arum Han (Whyalla) & Felicia Tan (S’pore).

17. Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee & Corinne Teng.

18.  Australia - National leaders: godly wisdom & guidance; people to repent & to come to Christ.

19.  B-P Churches - unity of doctrine & fellowship.

20.  Believers in Islamic & Communist countries.

21. Post-natal recovery: Sis Bernadette Ng.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063