Notes on Christian Warfare (27)

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The way, the truth and the life!

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The Provision of Scripture 
 (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The sword here is the word of God (v19). Or the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. They are referred to as holy because the come from the God who is holy, thrice holy, utterly holy. The context is that of stance, making a stand against the enemy of God, of the church, of our own souls. But the stance is not so much of standing still, rather going forward against the enemy. It is in understanding this that we begin to realise the lengths the devil will go to in order to remove the word of God from us. To cast doubts upon our minds, to damage our confidence in what God has spoken. Remember his words to Eve, “did God actually say” (Genesis 3:1). That is still his insinuation today. He will use the doubt-ridden questioning of the higher critics, academia’s persistent denials of the historic record of God’s work of creation (Genesis 1-2). A multiplicity of Bible translations that has caused much confusion amongst God’s people. This is not an attack on a good modern translation of the Bible. There are the errors and extremes of both the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. We have the Holy Spirit so Bible is not quite so necessary, or with further so-called extra-biblical revelations. Claims have been made time and again that have been proved to have been false, even contradicting the Bible. Let us be absolutely clear, the Holy Spirit never has nor ever will contradict his own God-breathed word (2Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit speaks by his word. The summons of the Holy Spirit to the church, the people of God is to hear the word of God, the Holy Scriptures, read and preached. This is his provision for us, it is inspired, infallible, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And preserved in all generations as he has so promised.

It is the truth about God himself, the only trustworthy revelation of the true and living God. It is a true revelation of ourselves, what we are truly like ourselves, not good, deceitful, wicked, vile, in need of the salvation Scripture declares to us through the Son of God. It is trustworthy in every detail, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). It is a sure word of testimony, dependable because it comes to us from God. Sharper than any sword, “for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It is to be used in all the work of God’s salvation. It is this self-same word that the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to a conviction of their sinful state and condition before almighty God, “and when he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11). It is through the sword of the Spirit that we are brought to a conscious, living faith, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). “Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Peter 1:5). How? By the living word of God. It is by this word we are sanctified, equipped for every good work that God has for us. How we should reverence our Bibles, count them as precious and especially so in these days of terrible apostasy and confusion. One of the Puritans on one occasion cried to God, “take away our children, our homes, our jobs, but please don’t take your word away from us.” For without the word of God we would perish.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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Human flourishing: self-love rings…

This one I didn’t make up. Under the pic, the article begins:

Not got a boyfriend? Not engaged? Never mind – there’s no need to wait around for someone else to buy you a ring to declare their love for you. It’s time to seek a ring out for yourself, in celebration of self-love and your own self-worth to wear on your pinky finger… call it an “anti-engagement ring”, if you like, and may it serve as a little reminder that you come first.

What’s the point of being gay if you can get the solipsist thing going? Buy yourself a ring and a good vibrator.

A pastor I respect has been telling me the next frontier in sexual perversion will be…

virtual sex—self-loving aided by technology. He says everyone in the church will be doing it and no one will have the slightest idea what’s wrong with it.

Sex has always driven technological innovation and virtual reality is where the venture capital has gone the past few years. So get your thinking cap on, Christian. What’s wrong with getting your relief from self-loving instead of marriage? If it’s better to marry than burn, isn’t it even better to masturbate?

No alimony. No child support. In fact, no children. Not even birth control.

No authority or submission, and ain’t that a relief? Not even mutual submission.

No fights over money. No fights at all—just depression. No divorce—how would you divorce yourself unless it’s called suicide?

The “gay Christian” movement promoted by Desiring God, Gospel Coalition, and the Louisville contingent of Southern Baptists has done us the kindness of laying the foundation. Since it’s fine to be gay inside as long as you don’t touch anyone outside, what possible objection could anyone have to being a narcissist inside and never touching anyone outside? People couldn’t even call you disordered since Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Some smart aleck probably wants to point out that the images required for successful self-loving sexual activity would harm the men and women who exposed themselves for the self-lover’s screen, but that too will be solved by technology. No one has to get naked. Our technology has been that good for a while, now. Machines can produce virtual idols perfectly suited for every one of us.

You want a young hunk? Just tell the machine to give you one and—voila!—your wish is the machine’s command. And machines can’t sin.

As I think about it, I’m floored by the possibilities. Isn’t this the final rout of the church by gaybies?

If it takes two to tango, it also takes two to engage in opposite-sex sexual activity. But when you take sexual activity back to one, everyone becomes a gaybie because everyone is into same-sex sexual activity.

Reblogged by permission of the author, Tim Bayly on November 19, 2016.

(James R Hamilton)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (26)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The way, the truth and the life!

The Sword of the Spirit  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

This is the one singular offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit (v17b). The helmet and the sword are distinctive, ‘of’ possessive, the Spirit’s sword. And therefore invincible. The Christian’s warfare has to do with the mind, thinking. But with a Bible in hand, I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). This is the means that the Holy Spirit uses and particularly the word of God preached. The deadly scythe to cut down the enemies of God and his people, the undiluted word of God. It is powerful and revealing, “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17). For Christ is in it, it produces faith that leads to salvation, “so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). By it, we taste of the heavenly world (Hebrews 6:5). It is the Christians weapon before which the demons flee (v12). The truth is our belt (v14). The gospel is our righteousness (vv14b). Peace tranquilises the mind (v15). The shield protects us from the father of lies (v16). The sword of the Spirit is the word of God and is our principle means of grace. What does grace mean? It is an attribute of God, it is his attitude of favour towards undeserving sinners. Grace is the power by which the sinner is saved, delivered from the bondage of sin and corruption. It is by grace we are regenerated, sanctified and made pleasing to God. Grace is a spiritual blessing and virtue bestowed, by God. And the means by which it is bestowed? The preaching of God’s word.

Then there are what we would call the wider means. That of good Christian reading, of Scriptures too of course, which brings us to a conscious faith. There is the godly conversation with other saints, fellowship in other words. Fellowship is so misunderstood these days. It is not conversing about the week’s work, our favourite sports team or activities. It is conversing with and sharing the things of God with other believers. This is a means of edification, strengthening our faith. Some would include prayer, one could wider still and include all things, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The temptations we face, the lures of the world, the fight with the flesh, all our sufferings and afflictions. To be sure God uses all these for our growth in grace. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5). In Reformed theology, however, we see the preaching of God’s word as being the main means, the principle means of grace. It is by this means we are called of God to be Christians. It is by this means we receive the knowledge of Christ. And this without the sacraments, for they are added to the word, they are signs and seals of the promise of God. But it is the word that is primary that explains the sacraments. It is the word that is indispensable, we can live without the sacraments, but not the word. “But he answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). It is the word that works faith, sustains our spiritual life, explains the sacraments. Without the word of God, the sword of the Spirit the sacraments would be meaningless.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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