Under the Direction of the Lord
‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’
‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’
‘He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.’
‘To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:..But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.’
‘On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever.’
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James” 1.26,27
‘Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.’
‘Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall..that Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together.. but they thought to do me mischief.’
‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves… But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein… this man shall be blessed in his deed.’
“And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.” Nehemiah 5:1-2
‘Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.’
‘Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.’
‘Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah.’
‘And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.’
‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’
‘And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said… Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.’
‘Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.’
‘Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man’
‘…the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations…for they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people…’
‘Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.’
‘This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.’
‘..the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.’
‘Praise ye the Lord; I will praise the Lord with my whole heart.’
‘Then the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.’
‘And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.’
‘Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you..’
‘And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.’
‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.’
‘Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing.’
‘Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’
The inner calling of a preacher and its ratification; the required ministerial gifts; the preparation, testing and formation of character; the combined honour and lowliness of the calling, and the assured results, all surveyed in 1 Timothy.
‘Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
Conversion is entirely the work of God, yet Paul is commissioned to open eyes and turn people to repentance. Why do so many struggle to find the Lord? Here are the common faults in repentance which may delay conscious salvation.
‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’
‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of … Continued
The Lord said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church, yet we live in a time of severe spiritual decline, when unbelief triumphs everywhere. Here are five great aspects of the victory of the true church seen even at the present time.
‘Two natures’ was the position of the Reformers, the Puritans and the mainstream evangelical position until the 1950s. Here is the scriptural support, also the mistakes of the one-nature view, and how the old view gives the most realistic view of the struggle for holiness.
Isaiah was overwhelmed and convicted by it. The four and twenty elders of Revelation fell down before it. What is it like to sense God’s glory – its perfections and attributes? Here is how it is known through Christ, and how it must be honoured.
‘After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.’
‘I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.’
‘The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.’
Full-service recording below:
Why is there virtually no concept of Christian consecration today among Reformed evangelicals? Why do so many churches and Christians find worldliness acceptable? James demonstrates how the Holy Spirit yearns for our entire consecration to the Lord — beginning with humble submission to Him.
A survey of the book of Malachi, God’s final prophetic interaction with his people before the appearance of John the Baptist. It is cast in six sections: Israel’s spiritual apathy, condemnation of the priests, the charge of treachery, a great prophecy of Christ, a charge to consecration and the destinies of the saved and unsaved. Here are the pastoral lessons for us.
‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.’
‘Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.’
‘Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’
‘In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers. Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the … Continued
‘Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.’
‘And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all … Continued
Part of a series of Bible Studies entitled ‘Lessons in Faith’.
‘And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.’
From a series entitled ‘Lessons in Faith’ from the life of Hezekiah.
Part of a series of Bible Studies from 2 Kings entitled ‘Lessons in Faith’.
Lessons in faith including Elisha with Hazael, showing the mechanism which begins all wars, and the deathbed act of Elisha exposing a king’s indolence, with spiritual applications.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
From a series on Galatians
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings, entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings, entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
Part of a Bible Study series on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 2 Kings, entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elisha’.
Part of a series of Bible Studies on 1 Kings, entitled ‘Lessons in Faith from the Life of Elijah’.
David speaks to himself in self-pity, focussing on his trials, the power of Saul and the doubtful loyalty of his 600 men. Here are lessons from Satan’s assaults, and what David should have considered. Also, light on Saul and the witch of Endor.
What accounts for Saul’s resistance to God? But there are the same tendencies even in us as believers. Supremely, in these chapters, are the four arguments of Abigail to deter David from sin, the same arguments so useful to us in restraining ourselves from temptation.
Beginning with the erosion of David’s trust in his subterfuge at Nob, proceeding to the total collapse of trust in his flight to Gath, and then the repair of faith in Psalms 34 and 56, and the token of future blessing in the rescue of Keilah.
King Saul is under God’s judgement, and David has been secretly anointed as king. Here we see Jonathan’s faith and humility, while pride and suspicion consume Saul. We also see Saul’s classic false ‘conversion’ that soon fails, and David’s laying all before the Lord.
A fresh look at the famous defeat of Goliath showing that for the believer all events are a spiritual matter. Here it is seen that spiritual tenacity and strength co-exist with gentleness and kindness. Here also is the difference between working by flesh or spirit.
A single practical study for developing good behaviour in children, including Paul’s priority to avoid frustration and resentment; the goal of preparing for adult life; the place of punishments and restrictions; key texts of promise and warning; duties for children and good manners.
A brief study of what it means to be ‘one flesh’, mainly expounding and applying to marriage the terms used by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 13. Often surprising and always challenging, these provide the principles for harmony and happiness in the sanctified life.
Job is humbled, repenting of his questioning of God. But he is accepted as a saved man. The ‘friends’ however are condemned and must repent of their false views of God. Job is restored but only when he brings forth fruits meet for repentance.
We take the beasts to be a hippopotamus and crocodile, both teaching trust, the power and invincibility of God (for if He made them they must reflect His infinitely greater capacities) and the contrasting weakness displayed by Job.
Here are elements of Job’s humbling (vital for light, pardon and blessing) showing how the Lord works in the lives of all His people. Here also are pastoral lessons drawn from the wild goats, asses and oxen, and from the ostrich and the warhorse.
Elihu is a true messenger of God, whose reproof of Job is confined to Job’s post-affliction reactions. His noble speeches anticipate the very words of God, soon to follow, and he gives a full explanation of God’s use of affliction in the lives of His people.
Charged with extreme hypocrisy by his friends, Job describes the virtuous works of his public and private life. But despite his godliness he seems to over-relish his wealth and station, and shows no evangelical compassion for the outcasts of society.
Job is denounced by his justified-by-works friends, but refutes their ideas. He criticises God for not having a complaints procedure for people like himself, yet at the same time, he witnesses to his friends in a magnificent poem on finding wisdom and truth.
Job longs for an explanation of his suffering, and for vindication before his ‘friends’. As his friends denigrate him, and his gloom deepens, he is suddenly given a moment of revelation about his personal Redeemer-God, incarnate, and visible to him in a final resurrection.
Job’s ‘friends’ increase in hostility with charges of hypocrisy. Job clings to his evangelical view of grace, and upholds God’s perfection, but lapses into self-pity. He then eloquently trounces and disproves the liberal theology of the friends, and proclaims his testimony of salvation.
Eliphaz begins the attack by the so-called friends. Resenting Job’s evangelical salvation, and protecting their works theology, they insist he is a hypocrite under judgement. They deny that God requires holiness – only a pass mark. With pastoral lessons from Job’s first reply.
The excellencies of Job, the encounters of Satan with God, Job (unknowingly) placed by God to demonstrate the reality of conversion, his crushing afflictions, the shock of his friends, and his magnificent poem of dismay – and the blessings he lost sight of (like us).
The contrast between rejected Israelites who invented their own ‘gods’ to their taste, and the remnant who feared the Truth. Then the great upheaval of the New Testament and the lasting features of revived Zion of elect Jews and Gentiles and their worship.
The call of the Gentiles along with a saved remnant of Israelites will form the New Testament church, the new creation (completely fulfilled in eternal glory). Here are the special blessings of Christ’s people, saved Jews and saved Gentiles, and how diverse saved personalities fellowship.
First God’s indignation at those hostile to believers and Truth (and how Calvary makes their judgement possible). Secondly, God’s kindnesses to believers, and how He is affected by our troubles; then God’s delight in surprising believers with unexpected blessings all the way to glory.
Messiah speaks of His coming to give forgiveness, life and liberty to lost souls, with happiness and righteousness. Here also is amazing detail of the nature and work of the new Jewish-Gentile church, with a unique pledge of protection and security from Messiah.
The Gospel era will bring an amazing Gentile harvest, transforming Zion into a proclaiming organ, with a mutual love between saved Jews and Gentiles, extending throughout the world. Little Israel will beome a worldwide church. Here are the many precious characteristics – our goal today.
In a great call to sincerity the prophet exposes the human tendency to hypocrisy in worship, asserting that any worship that does not change and shape life is useless before God, then outlines the magnificent blessings flowing from conscientious striving for holiness.
Here is the contrast between the people of Christ and the children of this world, with their entirely different worldviews, lifestyles, aims and commitments. Here also is the equality before God in every sense of believers of all backgrounds, and their eternal safety.
Isaiah adopts the stance of a Gospel-age preacher proclaiming individual reconciliation and direct access to God by grace alone. Demonstrating Gospel reasoning he speaks of Christ and of Gentile salvation, crediting the outcome to irresistible grace – all with the astounding clarity of prophetic vision.
The magnificent prophecy of the Gospel church describes Christ’s benefits and commission to his N.T. people giving us, 1) a new territory; 2) a new relationship; 3) a new composition, and 4) a new victory. Here are the promises of God for our preservation and power.
In language of soaring beauty and with characteristic detail and precision the prophet presents first, Christ’s exalted qualifications; secondly, His contrasting humiliation for the work of redemption; thirdly, His rejection; and fourthly, His unique and harrowing atonement, and finally our utter dependence upon Him.
Nearly 700 years before the coming of Christ, the prophet details the principal features of the church to come: a people preserved; a people born in new revelation; a people who listen to God, and a people who live to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
Having already said so much about Christ and His future church, Isaiah now shows the astonishing features of the coming Gentile conversion, the unreasonableness of unbelief to be overpowered, and the infallibility of Christ especially in the upholding of His redeemed people.
This review of four chapters begins with the fall of Babylon biblically foreshadowing the demise of this unbelieving world at the end of time (including the collapse in shame of evolution). Here also are the words of Messiah about His coming and work in the world.
Here the N.T. church is shown to consist of those who are elect, spiritually converted, connected in a spiritual family, professing Christ and pledged to Him. Here also is how God superintends history for the church, including today as we approach the end of time. Full Service Recordings:
The Gospel era will be for believers a time of labour for the Lord with much opposition, but here are the comforts of God beginning with Isaiah’s six great arguments for assurance. Here also are predictions of regenerating power and many special provisions. Full Service Recordings:
With further inspired insights into the Gospel era the prophet describes an entirely new order in which the church will proclaim Christ and His accomplished salvation, sing a new hymnody extending the book of Psalms, and labour as the church militant in evangelism. Full Service Recordings:
An unbelieving world, says Isaiah, will be deaf to the message behind God’s mighty events (whether conquest or pandemic) while believers will know His love and power, and reap a great spiritual harvest. Here we explore the prophet’s powerful words and their fulfillment.
It is astonishing just how much Isaiah was shown about the age of Messiah and the composition and work of the Gospel church. In just 17 verses of sublime literature we are given 11 features and doctrines of the Jewish-Gentile church of Christ.
More on Hezekiah’s repentance. He is dying at 39 with no sons, and rendered unfit to continue the Davidic line. He thinks he is eternally lost and makes his model repentance, soon marred by another compromise. How very like our church situation today!
King Hezekiah’s soundness is seen in his purge of idolatry and sincere commitment when disciplined by the Lord. But he continued in compromise with Assyria and Egypt. Here is his repentance for this also, and the consequent remarkable blessing, with application to our compromises today.
Over three chapters there are several major prophecies about Christ’s coming church covering firstly her doctrinal foundation (eg: Christ the hiding place – justification), then her conversion characteristic, then her worship priority, then her laws, and finally her pilgrim ethos. Here are details and applications.
The Lord’s chief complaint against Judah is their following human schemes not His Word. Here are applications to us today, both as churches, and as individuals in lockdown, along with the predicted blessings (and other conditions) that will come to the faithful.
A prophecy about the fall of Samaria and later the Babylonian invasion of Judah tells us much about God’s method and purpose when He allows HIV, MERS, SARS, earthquakes, floods, fires, and now worldwide plague. Here also is God’s promise of personal salvation.
In the light of end-time events here are the themes on which to reflect for assurance, inner peace, trust, spiritual stability, and a view of the sovereign work of God. Here also are features of human nature that influence many situations.
In just one chapter of striking symbols lies the most remarkable vision of the final judgement, the setting apart of the redeemed, the end of all antagonism and the judgement of demons. It is followed by the rhapsodic praise of Zion’s eternal inhabitants.
A community so privileged with the Temple and the prophets, and so devout in worship, are to be disciplined for the failure of real dedication to the Lord – the prevailing feature of so much evangelicalism today. Here is Isaiah’s challenging analysis and application.
Long before the rise of Babylon Isaiah foretells her character and fall. She aspired to be as Lucifer, and how she reflects Satan her ultimate master, and also Antichrist of the last times. Literal Babylon fell, and so will the culture of the world that she symbolises.
The ten northern tribes receive a last warning, then their fall (722BC) is predicted. As for Judah, she will also be punished by Assyria but with the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem, the surviving remnant of the discipline. Here are lessons for spiritual service in our day.
The prophet Isaiah confronts Ahaz, king of Judah, over his pending appeal to Assyria for military aid. The king refuses a sign-miracle, and the coming of Messiah by virgin birth is announced. Here objections are answered and lessons drawn for present day believers.
Isaiah places his message first, coming to his own call in chapter six. The overwhelming holiness of the Lord, seen by vision, crushes him, leading to forgiveness and commissioning, and here are the lessons for soul winning and warning so often left unapplied today.
Over 2700 years ago the prophet’s vision describes the full scale of human nature and man’s fallen behaviour in six remarkably concise yet profound categories. There is nothing so penetrating even in the New Testament as the astonishing scenario of the vineyard parable and the six woes.
Isaiah predicts Judah’s future troubles through invasion and captivity of all the leading men, showing the reasons for judgement, especially the vaunting of man. Here is the application to the church today, and here also is a magnificent detailed prophecy of the New Testament age.
Isaiah introduces his prophecies with vivid descriptions of the desperate plight of Judah – yet she was in great prosperity. But he speaks in earthly terms of her spiritual state, listing failings mirrored in our churches today. Here are the Lord’s warnings and remedies.
In a single magnificent ‘sovereign grace’ verse, the apostle frames a prayer that three essential features of Christian living might be manifested in believing lives. Here is true conversion, plus the blessings of God’s ‘good pleasure’, plus the divine work of building up our faith.
Today numerous false teachings flourish even within conservative and reformed churches, crippling the work of God. Here are common major wrong views of the Bible, of the Godhead, and of salvation spread by leading teachers. The great need of clarity, discernment and a faithful stand.
Roles of men and women at creation; relationships fixed as a reminder of the Fall; roles in the church and marriage, with duties of husbands and wives. The question answered: Do the same rules apply also to roles in society and business?
Why John is given a vision of the reigning Lord in biblical symbols, rather than a true resemblance, and how each symbol shows the true attitude of worship in church or in personal devotion, serving as a tonic for real appreciation of Christ and communion with Him.
Nine revelatory and sign gifts of the Spirit given for the ministry of the Word while the Scriptures were being completed. What they were and how they were eventually given to all believers – in the Word (Ephesians 1.17-19). Also, the gifts of Romans 12.6-8.
This second message on spiritual awakening reviews the errors of Israel described by the prophet that must be repented of for a special visitation of the Spirit, and here are the obvious parallels with the general state of evangelicalism in our age. Revival includes reform.
Unmistakable signs of revival in the Old Testament; the term in the Psalms (‘revival/awakening’); and a sweeping tour of British revivals. Finally, ten prominent characteristics of true revival, and the example of Hezekiah’s revival and its parallels with historic Western awakenings.
The two parts of Samson’s life, the time of integrity, power and blessing, and the time of his fall and punishment. Why the upright part is essential to the pastoral message of the passage. Also, the fall, its components and its deep lessons for us.
The low view of inspiration that has invaded modern evangelical commentaries and most Study Bibles is never more evident than in their character assassination of Samson. Here is the Bible’s own view; here is the vindication of Samson as a Hebrews 11 hero of faith.
Jephthah, a rare godly man in apostate Israel, is called from exile to defend the typical church. He makes a pious but rash vow and honours it with an obedience matched by his daughter. Not a human sacrifice, of course, but a challenge of commitment.
The non-cooperation of Succoth, the snare of Gideon’s ephod, the fable of Jotham, and the reign of Abimelech the bramble provide lessons on the antagonism of the flesh to spiritual progress, and its longing for human rule, rather than that of the Lord.
The biblical arguments in favour of regular evangelistic preaching as an essential and divinely central thread in ministry under the text ‘Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel’.
Gideon’s expulsion of the Midianites is an example of a literal event superintended by God to provide an overview of spiritual mission. Here are three disqualifications for instrumentality plus an insight into God’s work in minds, and how harmony in the ‘church’ was preserved.
Midianite oppression drives Israel to prayer – and rebuke! Conviction must precede restoration. Gideon by faith seeks divine authority for action. The altar of compromise is destroyed, and further authority sought for war (the fleece). Here are rich lessons, lost if Gideon is thought faithless.
While the Study Bibles mostly see Barak as a coward, Hebrews 11 shows him to be a hero of faith and achievements. Here is the narrative in this light, with numerous lessons for today including the reasons why several tribes failed to rally to the cause.
The Judges seen through the lens of Hebrews 11 as men of clear faith, not defective men of their time as many erroneously teach today. Here are lessons for us from the Mesopotamian and Moabite oppressions and from the lives of Othniel and Ehud.
A chapter teeming with detailed prophecy of Christ’s person and work together with the characteristics of the Gospel Age and the uniting of saved Jews and Gentiles in the church. Here it is also proved that Messiah will be a divine person and not the nation.
The famous appendix of Judges, speaking of events after Joshua and the elders. Micah and the Danites – a record of astounding syncretism from so-blessed a people, yielding lessons on how we as sincere people may fall into ‘double-mindedness’, first barely consciously, then fully.
An incomparable psalm for understanding the riches of thankfulness. Here are unexpected seams of thought from God’s acts of creation, deliverance, guidance and provision. Here also is how the psalmist anticipates conversion and the Christian life, and shows the spiritual benefits of thankfulness.
Before Elisha’s special enduement of the Spirit came three tests of loyalty, followed by a vital question. What will we ask of the Lord? What will a new preacher ask? Here is the meaning of the parting of Jordan, a chariot of fire, and the whirlwind ascension.
Why is this such a prominent and distinctive doctrine? How does it relate to regeneration and sanctification? What are its purposes and what should we do to keep it alive in our hearts, and to reap its benefits in our lives and service for Christ?
After twenty years of historical silence, Joshua’s last convocation of Israel is recorded, with his remarkable speech presenting sixteen distinctive exhortations or ‘resolutions’ for the lives of God’s children. There is nothing quite so searching and comprehensive in all the Bible.
Israel’s tribes failed to clear residual Canaanite occupation, diluting their commission – the lessons. Joshua implements cities of refuge – here is how we know they have significance for the Christian life. Here also is the first piece of ‘theatre’ in the ancient church, and its folly.
We learn the need of limited methods in the Lord’s work, how to identify ‘Hazors’ or pivotal issues in the defence of faith, the necessity of total obedience to God’s plan, and the certain fall of Anakim giants that triggered Israel’s unbelief and disobedience.
Joshua’s defence of the Gibeonites teems with spiritual lessons that still apply and bless God’s people. Among them are once-only miracles that establish Joshua and his principles and crushed pagan deification of sun and moon. Here is Joshua’s promoting of faith.
Biblical proofs that Joshua’s conquest was a moral action of divine judgement that included an offer of peace to pagan cities (refused by all except the Gibeonites) if yielding to the moral standards displayed at Ebal. The Gibeonites in a positive light – illustrating evangelical repentance.
Achan sins and all Israel must suffer – why? Is it just? The question answered. The nature of ‘the accursed thing’ and its equivalent today. Here is ‘spiritual desertion’ as they knew it (and how it may strike believing churches), Achan’s obduracy, and the nation’s restoration.
Four steps are emphasised in Joshua 4-6: first, the cherishing of God’s works (the Jordan memorial), second, not hindering the work (by prolonging the reproach of Egypt), third, clinging to one’s sense of God (the theophany), and fourth, keeping faith as paramount (the strange siege).
First, tests of faith exemplified; second, the fourfold significance of the ark for us today; third, the necessity of reverence; fourth, the preaching of God’s Word central in every church event; fifth, all glory to be assigned to God, not leaders.
The well-known sending of the two spies contrasts with the twelve sent forty years before, who offended the Lord by presuming to choose the route of conquest. We learn the necessity of honouring God’s prerogatives — prescribed directions for the Christian life and church.
The literal history of Joshua, showing the pastoral parallels for our spiritual lives today in chapter 1. Here is Joshua’s momentous call, the certain promise of instrumentality, the effort needed, the necessity of a focus for faith, and other principles often neglected yet so vital today.
A sequence of verses showing how to steer oneself toward consideration of others, use ‘unbreachable barriers’ to avoid sin, maintain diligence in all things, avoid giving superficial counsel, register and convey disapproval of wrong, and treasure family devotion and the means of grace.
This group of verses unfolds five ‘companions’ of biblical truth as we search and apply it to life. Fascinating illustrations press home lessons on the need of: diligence, purity (in doctrine and methods), reality (especially the call to service), humility, and diplomacy (or sensitivity).
Through four striking illustrations Solomon considers spiritual ‘skills’: a noble building showing the three stages of spiritual life, warfare showing strategies for resisting Satan, the uninitiated builder or soldier showing hopeless consequences, and the need for constant exercise of spiritual skills.
Starting with a brief comment on the ‘rod’ in Proverbs, and what it does not mean, here is a remarkable 20-verse topic showing how Satan first makes sin desirable, promotes it through bad company, weakens thirst for regular teaching, then tightens sin’s grip on us.
– earthly and personal desires that is. Beginning with the need to curb determination to have one’s way, Solomon deals with anger, longings in general, and the ‘evil eye’ of coveting. He powerfully emphasises the need to observe God’s sacred boundaries in life.
The first proverb in this group announces the theme – the believer’s reputation for shining integrity (and its works), showing that it encompasses a true view of self (humility), principled living, keeping personal spiritual independence, and other precious elements. With examples of typical failure.
Here are eight consecutive graphic proverbs presenting distinctive aspects of sanctification: the need for a plan, the special guarding of appetites and words, fleeing pride, fearing indolence, being outgoing, keeping utmost sincerity in worship, applying Truth, and being ever-correctable. These powerful helps explored.
Twelve verses track the fallen state of mankind, revealing strikingly different and often surprising aspects of our lost condition. It stirs our sympathy, prayers and witness, and, of course, our gratitude for salvation. We see also the vast differences between being lost or saved.
Here are six influences to be resisted: things that intoxicate (not only alcohol), peace and acceptance, the love of strife, the love of comfort and convenience, untested dreams and plans, and inner self-justification. Here also are the biblical ways of defeating them.
Our title identifies the theme running through this group of twelve proverbs (clearly so in eight of them). Here are twelve distinctive and vital counsels for Christian fellowship, all of them curing defects and enabling deeper ties of respect and love between the Lord’s people.
Remarkable and profound verses show the necessity of being wholly submitted to the Lord in all departments of the spiritual journey – including the direction of life, self-examination, advance in holiness, pride-abatement, and persecution. Almost every verse couples a human action with a divine response.
Profound verses tell how to keep a calm mental, emotional state with joy in the Lord (no matter what). Here are the duties of appreciation, joy and gratitude even alongside woes, the need for food for the soul, and for simplicity, love, and self-control.
The Lord Himself tells us that patience possesses or holds firm the soul in communion with God. This is an active form of patient endurance, including spiritual hope and joy, and here are key texts illustrating its promotion in all the pressures of life.
The ‘principles’ contained in key Scripture texts that decide whether a pursuit is of the world; plus an examination of dancing, with special attention to David’s dancing before the Lord, and the impossibility of this justifying modern dancing either in worship or in the world.
Surely we are moving into the last age end-phase of licence and lawlessness. Here we briefly review history since the 1960s, and then consider a gulf between church and world, then study the command to love not the world and its things. What are these?
A single study review of Timothy as a model for believers, particularly his remarkable sympathy, his commendation, his forwardness and courage (contrary to what is often assumed about him), and his humility. Here is the evidence and the practical counsel for us in our day.
Far more than ‘sundry’ good wishes, here are Paul’s five conditions for the presence of God: the maintaining of joy; living a full-spectrum Christian life; knowing how to gain comfort in trials; being of one mind with believers; and being a peace-maker.
Here is the Lord’s own teaching on the maintaining of Christian joy, including reflection on conversion blessings, rewards in striving for holiness, seeing the risen Christ near at hand by faith, a life of answered prayer, the practice of anticipation, and the right handling of trials.
This is a tour of a ‘family’ of texts in the New Testament that together define the good works that should characterise those saved by grace. Here are the categories of witness, kindness or compassion, and holiness, with their scriptural helps and encouragements.
Love for Christ is constantly eroded by other concerns, and by salvation and blessing being taken for granted. Here scriptures show how admiration is maintained together with indebtedness, Christ-likeness and trust in Him. These deepen love. Here also is discerning love – the vital kind.
Here is the climax of persecution of the church by Antichrist, cut short by the return of Christ. We look at the church militant, the future glory, and the significance of the symbolic time to the end, with the encouragements and lessons for the church.
This astonishing chapter falls into three parts: first, detailed prophecy of events up to 175BC (all fulfilled and here summarised); then the tyranny of Antiochus toward Palestine; then the end-times acts of Antichrist, now being fulfilled before our eyes in church and state.
How the prophet’s prayers, longing for knowledge, and self-abasement before God, are rewarded by the most detailed prophecy of future events in the Bible. Here also is insight into the unseen spiritual warfare involving a principal demon and the victorious Saviour.
Here is Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem, and the vision of seventy ‘sevens’ and how, by the traditional evangelical view, the prophet’s eyes are lifted to Calvary and Christ’s six accomplishments there.
Daniel’s vision of the Persian and the Greek empires, from which would come Antiochus Epiphanes, who would inflict seven years of woes upon Jerusalem, being a type and figure of the last-days antichrist, providing a picture of his last offensive against the faith.
Daniel’s vision of four beasts extends the prophet’s picture of the four empires, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, that would precede the coming of Christ, with emphasis on the ‘little horn’, antichrist, that would devour the earth and attack the church until Christ’s return.
Persecution of the seed of the woman by that of the serpent flares up when subordinates of Darius plot Daniel’s death, but his faith and deliverance lead to religious freedom for Jews, attestation for the prophet, worldwide testimony, and a challenge for us.
Seventy years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar was indifferent to the true God. Later, God punished his pride (and stopped the genocide of the faithful). Belshazzar now adds insolent derision, always the last stage before judgement, and spurns repentance. Here is the ‘true story’ of that last night.
The purpose of God in the humbling (though not the conversion) of a seemingly invincible emperor shortly before his death and then the fall of the empire. Daniel is assured of God’s sovereignty overall, and we glean promises for the present turmoil.
Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘image’ was Satan’s scheme to achieve submission to paganism or execution of all Jews at court, and through the empire, eliminating any remnant of faithful Israel and the plan of redemption. A miracle averted all with minimal deaths. Here are mighty spiritual encouragements.
In the mighty Babylonian empire human power seemed to have extinguished the people of God and the Messianic promise. Then God revealed the coming sequence and end of world empires and the day of Christ. Here is the startling rise of Daniel, prophet and guardian.
An extremely long life of remarkable instrumentality in the preservation of God’s people along with unique prophetic insights began with a pivotal and risk-laden test. Here is the proving of Daniel and other young Israelites by which they denied the world and obeyed God.
An overview of surprising themes in Leviticus, including the need for feelingfulness, identifying sins of ignorance and strange fire today, Christian distinctiveness, and the ongoing message of the feasts and the jubilee. Also, the ‘appendix’ – the rules for vows, then and now.
Moses gives the gracious key to how God would deal with Israel by physical, earthly, public benefits or disciplines according to their general national behaviour. Here also by way of application are the equivalent spiritual benefits and disciplines for Gospel age believers.
The purpose of the Land Sabbath — far beyond the resting of the land — its moral benefits and spiritual lessons; then the remarkable Jubilee law with its spiritual and prophetic purpose. Was a Jubilee ever held? The true Jubilee in Isaiah, fulfilled in Christ and His Church.
All seven major feasts of Moses are in this chapter. This overview explains the spiritual purpose of each, showing how they form a perfect agenda for the meditation of believers, as well as a preacher’s checklist of essential themes for the blessing of God’s people.
Rules for discerning the ongoing message for today in the ceremonies of the law, eg: the vital spiritual application (not digestive!) of the embargo on eating the offering after two days; the priests’ funeral restrictions, the giving of children to Molech, and especially spiritual sincerity.
First, how the annual Day of Atonement foretells the one sacrifice of Messiah; secondly, sexual conduct laws, including the abomination of same-sex relationships and their moral-law permanence; thirdly, the message of uncircumcised fruit – that no culture is neutral but all must be sanctified.
Numerous times we are told that worship and priesthood were prescribed in detail by God, yet immediately and fatally Nadab and Abihu innovated. Why? Here are common answers, but Scripture mentions only that their novelty was not commanded by God, and here are lessons for churches today.
Lessons from the offerings for our devotional lives today, first for peace (thankfulness), second for sins of ‘ignorance’ (light untroubled sinning), third for guilt by association, fourth for ‘trespass’ (sins against God). How can we repent without knowing these categories of offence?
The burnt offerings are past and over, eclipsed by Calvary, but by placing ourselves in the midst of the scene we may feel the impact of the symbolism and the nature of guilt. Here we learn much about how to think in times of repentance.
Like daily prayer, Scripture reading, mortification of sin and good works, the stirring up and enlivening of God-given abilities is a regular duty not only for ministers such as Timothy, but for all believers. Here is the method of Paul.
The apostle makes us pause to sense the depths of the ugliness and harm of sin. His words jolt us, alarming us out of our lightness and calling us to engage fully in the war against sin through personal holiness and Gospel proclamation.
Two hours before his betrayal the Lord speaks of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling work and also of his work in the world, effectively giving the rules for all preaching and witness. Here also is the Spirit’s illumination of the Word – the only authority for Christians.
Providence – God’s fore-provision for all His aims – creation and perpetuation of all, including salvation; how freewill fits in; God’s part in all troubles and the deep things they accomplish; the reasons for suffering and the mighty encouragements of Scripture.
A pastoral overview of the doctrines of grace showing man’s great need of God’s initiative in salvation, the origin of the ‘five points’ and the galvanising effect they should have on witness and prayer for souls. With God sovereign in salvation, we never despair.
This study refutes a new book attacking the credibility of the Bible (The Bible for Grown-Ups), denying all Bible history before 900BC and claiming endless errors along with the absence of any spiritual message or consistent morality in the OT period. (We hear of teachers indoctrinating classes with it.)
The special aims of this tract-like Gospel and its unique themes, including attention to the ‘signs following’ of chapter 16 (‘the Pentecostal mistake’) and the numerous uses of ‘immediately’ and their rich pastoral messages as used in different passages.
Refuting samples of claimed discrepancies in the gospels, demonstrating the unreasonableness of unbelief. Also the Matthew/Luke beatitude passages, which provide different perspectives, inspired by the Spirit, to show the full message intended by the Saviour. Plus, a review of Christ’s divinity in Matthew.
The nature of inspiration; the interpreting of Scripture; the anointing or transformed view of Scripture that conversion brings; the nature of attacks on Scripture, and a classic example in the virgin birth prophecy of Isaiah 14, showing the absurdity of the attack and the wonder of the passage.
The question, ‘Why did God allow sin?’ deeply disturbs many seekers and young believers for it challenges the perfection of God. The full answer – beyond our capacity – awaits eternity, but here are precious clues that reveal a glorious and heart-warming part of God’s eternal wisdom.
(ii) — Doubts about salvation: experienced both by young and seasoned believers, their form and our response. Here are five surprising and powerful evidences of salvation presented in 1 John to show troubled souls that they should regard themselves as saved and move forward in faith.
— or the Hebrew original: the untangling of knots. A survey of doubts, firstly Genesis 3 and their satanic origin, then Peter’s doubting of Matthew 14, then praying without doubt (other texts), backsliding doubts, and different forms of doubt and how to confront them (Ephesians 6).
Probably David’s last and most uplifting psalm containing standards for his successors but chiefly soaring into messianic prophecy. Here is spelled out the character, extent and fruits of Christ’s reign using vivid pictures exclusively fulfilled by the One ‘who only doeth wondrous things’.
Fleeing Saul in the wilderness of Ziph David’s quest for communion is rewarded, this psalm revealing his steps under four discernible headings: 1. his longing for it (the means), 2. his commitment to praise (including the feast analogy), 3. his dependence, 4. the element of anticipation.
Composed when David was at the height of his power, this looks back at Saul’s disastrous reign and its cause to help people value their present blessings. To us, it says inversely – reviving past evangelical blessings means abandoning new methodology and trusting the Word alone.
David takes his terrifying predicament to the Lord, but not before affirming his trust in God’s promises and power – a vital antidote to making self-pitying complaints rather than offering believing prayers. Here are the lessons of his great example in the conquest of fear or discontent.
This hymn with a refrain that recurs 11 times addresses a series of exhortations to believers, accompanied by strong divine promises, especially to see all of life in the light of eternity. Containing the famous four words – Trust, Delight, Commit, Rest, it constitutes a rich devotional feast.
David’s prayer in deep waters, but his chief concern is God’s glory and the perpetuation of his witness. Here also are the answers to the seven questions we may ask in personal Bible study – Is there a doctrine here, a duty, a reproof, a promise? etc.
Dependence is a central duty of the Christian life and vital to the blessing of churches. Here is the nature of dependent prayer in troubles, the avoiding of worldly solutions, the forms in which God gives strength, and some of the mistakes of today.
Although hostility and war threaten the king, the running theme of this psalm is close communion with the Lord, his first and chief source of relief and perspective. Here we trace how the king went about it, his experience and its fruits.
Carefully structured, this great prayer provides a profound study of dedication, yet it also works as a quick checklist of the vital elements, such as one might keep in the back of one’s Bible. Here are David’s six ‘departments’ for regular recommitment.
First it is shown that the main theme of this prayer – paths and ways – is about the course of life and its major decisions and crises. Then we see several prerequisites or conditions for discerning the Lord’s guidance, all equally prayed for by the king.
Just what we need for the day of intense trial, temptation, persecution, loss, illness or turmoil. Here is God’s promise for prayer, the conditions for being heard, the part we must play, the duty of appreciation, the effect on assurance and avoiding fleshly solutions.
An insight into a most helpful approach to assurance, not here by reviewing our experience (legitimate as that is) but by reflecting (1) on God’s attributes in creation (2) on the distinctive qualities of the Word, and (3) by avoidance of certain kinds of sin.
David in despair and hounded by Saul controls his feelings and (1) articulates his needs in prayer (2) affirming that God knows what He will do (3) that he has a higher, better life (4) that God alone can help and (5) yielding his life afresh.
A truly extraordinary psalm with numerous illuminating metaphors. Here we see 13 of them under the headings (1) the place of prayer (2) the priority of guarding lips and heart (3) the heeding of correction (4) coping with the world’s contempt (5) Satan’s snares.
Extraordinary psalms – here the riches of fellowship are unfolded: first the ideal; secondly, the fragrance or pleasantness of Christian warmth; thirdly, its power and productiveness; fourthly, its eternal character. In these exquisitely structured verses two feelingful illustrations speak to our hearts.
A king’s devotions – these three memorable verses enable believers to maintain humility, dependence and trust in all circumstances. Firstly, a regular confession, secondly, the deportment or stance to be worked at, thirdly, the patience and waiting factor. All these sustained a great ruler’s trust.
Most modern ‘study Bibles’ limit Psalms 123-6 to the release from Babylonian captivity. But older works are right to relate them to all Zion’s trials, including spiritual opposition. Never underestimate, says David, the war against the saints, its periodical peaks, and remarkable deliverances.
Unique Psalms – David reflecting on the church, especially Messiah’s, using the picture of the Temple. Here are the riches and benefits of God’s provision of gatherings of his people. We too should reflect on the meaning of its structure, purposes, ‘walls’, ‘palaces’, and peace.
What kind of hopes and desires is it legitimate to pray for? Are there terms for answered prayer? Here are lessons from David’s words – ‘Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me?’ Also – the astonishing affection of God for each believer.
A unique model prayer rich in counsel, including problems in prayer. Four evident sections cover (1) The petitioner’s humble approach, (2) God’s approachability and readiness to respond, (3) The petitioner’s promise to God (a vital part of prayer), (4) The core petition itself, including the token for good.
Unique psalms: here is the whole scene of redemptive warfare, lifting us above setbacks and discouragements. Here too is prophecy – the ascension of Christ and the New Testament age, with the harvest of the Gentiles and coming judgement, and with surprising assurances along the way.
Unique psalms: here David shows us how to summon ourselves to praise. The main subjects are God’s forgiveness of, and compassionate acts toward, His people, both flowing from His character, and infinitely exceeding our guilt and inadequacy. The pinnacle of praise then lifts to Heaven.
A unique and challenging psalm: David’s ten vows for his reign, all to do with his moral rules for personal life and for his administration. Here is – (1) his dedication; (2) his plea for evident divine involvement; (3) his defence of the cause in the spiritual warfare.
Here are Paul’s ‘stand firm’ texts. First, for the faith, embracing doctrine and duties. Secondly, the rooted and grounded analogy of Ephesians 3 – how to maintain living spiritual experience. Thirdly, standing against the wiles of the devil – what they are and how to resist.
The spiritual warfare described, and Satan’s attempts to undermine and draw into sin, worldly concerns, coldness, complacency and doubts. How perspective, assurance and zeal is gained, and the promises, in a sense, be inherited now. Here too is the significance of God’s ‘oath’.
The great commission directs believers in every age, but when seen also as doctrine, its full richness springs into view, including the Trinity in salvation, the authority of the Word over reason and experience, the true nature of Christian liberty, and the Lord’s presence.
Spoken exclusively to the disciples, here are texts commanding love between believers. In imitation of Christ’s own, love must be sacrificial, generous and helpful, and not self-concerned. Also, how spiritual joy relates to love, and what it means to be ‘one’ in John 17.
Spoken exclusively to the apostles, here is the Lord’s teaching on the Spirit of Truth, of communion, of holiness, of illumination and of witness. Also, Christ’s words on the unique advantages of blessing by the Spirit, and His discrete, unostentatious, inconspicuous stance.
The future apostles are taught the steps to be taken when the soul is wounded or jaded, vital for all who love and serve the Lord. Here are the Lord’s five themes for reflection, enabling obedience to, ‘Let not your heart be troubled’.
Shortly before Calvary the Lord charges His disciples with (1) defence of faith and church (2) the preaching of the Gospel (3) avoidance of any use of His church for personal benefit (4) separation from the world, and (5) total focus on the Last Day.
In three Gospels this double prophecy, given exclusively to the disciples, discloses the harbingers of the end of the Temple, to be repeated (more intensively) at the end of the world. The first would be seen by that very generation.
Continuing ‘seminary’ passages exclusive to the apostles, the Lord teaches fundamental principles about the kingdom, and lays down the chief rule of church government, in the light of which Acts and the Pastoral Epistles must be interpreted.
In the course of the Lord’s ‘seminary course’ for His future apostles (passages addressed exclusively to them) we consider the necessity of humility, the avoidance of offences large and small, radical measures in personal sanctification, discipline, the prevailing power of corporate prayer, and forbearance.
We track the apostles’ ‘seminary course’ through Matthew 16-17: the avoidance of the churchmanship of the Pharisees and Saducees that produced nominal worshippers, the primacy of human instrumentality, the scope of self-denial, and the need for strong desires for blessing by prayer and fasting.
In their training the apostles are sent on a probationary mission. Here are the great faith strengthening factors in the passage (beside prayer) namely, commitment to a cause, dependence on the Lord, awareness of two kingdoms and the clear example of Christ.
First, the genius of parables, their purpose and the Lord’s reason for using them. Then, His interpretation of the sower, teaching the four kinds of response to the Gospel, only one amounting to true conversion, an event attributed to light being ‘given’.
When Christ taught the twelve to pray He did not, as we might, give a list of necessary attitudes, but an agenda or pattern that itself creates the right attitudes. Here are the headings with suggested sub-contents of the Lord’s Prayer. This is real help.
The ‘syllabus’ for the disciples’ training began in the Sermon on the Mount. Overwhelmed and probably inflated by miracles and vast crowds, they must first learn of a disciple’s humble, compassionate deportment, and secondly of the moral standards and character to be strictly maintained.
A review of the wonders of the Cross: as a sacrifice, the ‘stripes’ of suffering, the heights of love, the obedience of Christ, His purchase of creation, assurance secured, the power, the example, and the defeat of Satan. How to appreciate Calvary.
Marriage at the beginning established for all time; man’s headship in the light of the equality of men and women before God; marriage as a covenant; the nobility of the unmarried; the way of courtship; a husband’s duties and the divine promise of 1 Peter 3.7.
Ezekiel has lamented the failure of separation from the world, and now the river symbolises the church’s positive work in the world. Here is the meaning of its secret source and miraculous expansion, with our soul-winning priority, and the incidental yet mighty social benefits in times when there is great acceptance and blessing of souls.
Is this great city/temple vision to be fulfilled literally or does it portray Christ’s Church? Here are the reasons why historic interpreters were all sure it pointed to the Church, and how this view reveals the many vital pastoral applications for today.
An obvious parable (as Ezekiel shows by building in major pointers) about the coming of Christ and the church age, telling us about the constant hostility of the world against the church, how God will restrict it, and its end times crescendo when Christ returns.
Among nations to be judged for hostility to God’s people, Tyre was unique, and subject to uniquely phased judgement. Here is how she parallels anti-Christian thought today, and the perspective we gain from this (already partially fulfilled) prophecy.
Fervour or zeal for the Lord (literally ‘heat’) is a conversion gift. But this fire within of passion for Christ, holiness and souls is easily quenched. Here are its sources, objects, accommodation to personality, and means of erosion or revival in our hearts.
The psalmist predicts the destruction of Zion and its restoration after exile; also its spiritual revival in the Christian age. Here is Christ’s blueprint for individual churches (rather than denominations, societies and private ministries), their superior qualities, their end-time oppression, and final triumph.
Despite training, Israelites were ignorant of doctrine, choosing uninspired nonsense over the Word. They thought Exodus taught that parental sin was punished in children. Ezekiel denies it, unless children choose to sin. A call to personal knowledge of doctrine and conduct – so rare today.
From the parables of the vine and of two great eagles the greatest faults of the ‘typical’ church (repeated today) were pride and idolatry. Ezekiel shows that humility, simplicity and faithfulness are essential for true blessing. We see how worldliness is the equivalent of idolatry.
It is remarkable how the vision-messages given by God to Ezekiel are structured and divided to ideal sermonic form, as if they are inspired lessons in delivery. Here we see the Lord’s own subject, shape and divisions for several major ‘sermons’.
A new vision of the holiness of God fills the prophet with indignation at the insult to Him of apostasy. Commissioned a watchman to souls, a time of barren ministry creates dependence on the unction of the Spirit, while the siege enactment teaches his attitude.
First, proof that Ezekiel’s commission applies to all believers. Secondly, why he is constantly reminded of his human vulnerabilities. Thirdly, how the Spirit carries him and us over the opposition of the age. Fourthly, proclamational not missional (in the modern sense) methods are commanded.
The personal spiritual message of Ezekiel 1 – the call of a prophet certainly, but also the commission that should dawn dramatically on all believers, bringing a powerful sense of God, His glory and omniscience. How this brings fruitfulness, while its absence has ruined much evangelical witness.
David’s rhapsodic review of all the ways by which he knew the mighty hand of God in every condition of life. Both deeply searching and powerfully comforting, here are the details of the Lord’s love toward his own in action, and the gratitude we owe.
A refresher in personal Bible study. Paul prays that we should have the ability to see the spiritual message. Here is a ‘check list’ of the ten topics in Ephesians which we expect to find (not all every time) when we read the Word with expectant minds.
A refresher in prayer: right and wrong anxiety; spiritual damage of the latter; hindrances and helps in prayer; the approach to God; rules of pleading; elements of thanksgiving; reasons why prayer is not heard; the mistake of the ‘Yes, No, Wait’ scheme, and the glorious reality.
‘Love not the world’ texts are frequently twisted to mean – be worldly as long as you don’t sin. Past believers always saw the world as a complex evil campaign orchestrated by Satan. Here are passages proving this view and defining worldliness.
The apostle names two signs before the return of Christ, one being the revealing of the man of sin. Is he an individual or a collective concept, a genus of God-haters? And what will he or they do? Possible answers are gleaned from the passage.
Reasons why we fail to prove all things. Here with examples are key rules. Is the idea in the Bible, or dependent on other knowledge? Beware of the secret formula for success. Is it new or novel? Examine carefully the source or origin.
A single study about fellowship drawn from a range of scriptures, covering the command and duty to love fellow believers, the hindrances and gains, personal attitudes and encouragements for advance in the mutual ministry and pleasure of friendship.
Significance of the vine and the branches picturing Christ and His people, and the daily privilege of abiding in Him. The three-fold fruit – character, praise and witness – and the vital means of abiding listed by the Saviour, all contributing to the realisation of His presence and power.
Israel’s susceptibility to the Moabite strategy of penetration and corruption, and Satan’s use of this today. Moses retired, the type of Christ to be unblemished for entry into the land. The Reubenites and our tendency to settle down rather than fight the Christian warfare.
Why God used the phenomenon of an ass seeing the angel of the Lord and speaking. Balaam’s true visions, and how he grasped the vulnerability of Israel should she lose her distinctiveness. The outcome – ‘the doctrine of Balaam’ – found to this day among evangelicals.
From the meaning of the ‘serpent of brass’ to the lessons of Balaam’s contradictions. A true prophet, and false; sincere, yet insincere; powerless, yet unleashing against God’s people the most devastating and enduring Satanic strategy. Balaams surely ‘live’ today; the biblical record is for us.
The people craved a repentance-free, non-challenging religion, but God commands that His appointed worship be kept sacred. How His rules for ministry are disobeyed today. The profound message of the red heifer. Also the error of Moses that cost his entry into Canaan.
The Israelites did not accept that unbelief and disobedience should shut them out of Canaan, Korah and the people demanding both a new priesthood, and a no-repentance, non-sifting ministry. Here are the parallels for our time, and the lessons of the wanderings.
The disastrous decision at Kadesh when the people recoiled from entering the land, and the present day equivalent when churches and members recoil from serious effort to reach young and old alike in the battle for souls. Why has the serving culture almost disappeared?
Lessons begin to flow from this typical church, including: the cloudy pillar shows the way but they must watch for localised dangers. The daily prayer of Moses provides a profound plan for our petitions. Satan infuses gloom that quickly turns to lust – plus remedial thinking.
From the ‘strange fire’ judgement to the march from Sinai, we trace the preparation of the Israelites in (1) learning to preserve the presence of God; (2) maintaining purity, and (3) pursuing an ideal of true dedication. Here is a pattern for churches today.
The chief and distinctive purposes of Numbers seen through NT eyes, the Israelites being a type of the church. Here is the ‘working church’ concept, seldom followed today, the call-up to war and activism, faith, holiness, order, and the centrality of worship in everything.
Promises of wonders greater than the Red Sea crossing were kept then, and subsequently in the history of the church, even to the present wherever saved people strive to keep the conditions named: no compromise, honour spiritual obligations, and be consecrated to God’s service.
Following the golden calf God took away His presence and limited the Israelites to a ‘preservation’ grade of experience, mirrored today when we host worldliness or other sins. Here also is the intercession of Moses and his special experience of God’s glory, with lessons.
With Moses away, the idolatrous apostasy at Sinai was met by Aaron’s strategy of appeasement. It was a disaster, condemned by God (yet recurring to this day in evangelical history). How different from the stance of Moses – a type of Christ and an example to us!
(1) The daily sweet savour offerings of lambs (2) the altar of incense (3) the half-shekel ransom money (4) the brass laver, and (5) the anointing oil – all had an obvious teaching message for worship and life. Here are these lessons.
The symbolism of the high priest’s garments has often been greatly overdeveloped, but they clearly were symbols of the woman’s promised seed and Abraham’s expected descendant. Here is what they surely conveyed to believing Israelites, and how they spoke of our Redeemer.
As well as illustrated prophecies, abiding principles of Christian doctrine, witness and worship are plainly taught by the major features of the Tabernacle (often missed or violated by today’s evangelicalism). Here they are, with their implicit promises and encouragements.
An overview of the civil laws given to Moses for Israel to show their great wisdom and kindness, and to explain the real benefits of some that seem unfair when not read alongside passages that explain them. Also, their immense value to Christians.
The Ten Commandments are holy, just and good or beneficial, reflecting God’s own nature. Here are the benefits of the first four. Says God – I am your God: and will be your Father, Saviour, Friend, Defender, Provider and Guide. You will need no other ‘god’.
Here are stirring spiritual parallels in God’s words to the typical church at Sinai: eg being borne on eagles’ wings, a peculiar treasure, and a kingdom of priests. Here also is distinctiveness from the world, knowing God by faith alone, and reverence.
The trial of faith when the cloudy pillar stops the migrating column in dry Rephidim, and Horeb’s rock – type of Calvary. Then the Amalekites, Satan’s agents to fight Israel: their astonishing unbelief and antagonism until their ‘man of sin’ Haman plans Israel’s destruction c470BC. Today’s equivalent.
The astonishing feeding of an entire nation for 40 years by miraculous manna is a worthy type or prophetic illustration of the redeeming work of Christ. Here are some of the many parallels, and the pastoral lessons for us all, that stream from this narrative.
The first (and last, in Revelation) congregational hymn of the Bible is 19 verses long, glorifies God, and is deeply doctrinal and intelligent. Nothing like contemporary music lyrics, it was learned by multitudes within hours. Here are some of its wonders.
Perhaps the greatest miracle of the Old Testament, the crossing teems with spiritual application, and contains a famous ‘contradiction’ that leads to deliverance. We can only imagine the menacing, towering walls of water, the fiery cloudy pillar, and the long night of faith.
Indescribable relief filled Hebrew homes that midnight when judgement struck Egypt. They knew as idolaters they deserved it also, but atoning blood kept them. Thousands of lambs secured one deliverance, whereas the Lamb of God would gain eternal life for billions. Here are the parallels.
A review of the plagues of Egypt reveals facts often unnoticed which provide significant principles for the Christian age. Here are: (i) applications for individual believers; (ii) typical features; (iii) profound principles for evangelism drawn from the obduracy of Pharaoh.
Ruler and deliverer Moses is poor, rebuking prosperity heresy. His trial through neglecting a command. Israel’s temporary faith and false converts today. Moses unready for Satan’s actions, nor are we if we defend doctrine but not practice. New significance of the glorious name Jehovah.
The call and commissioning of Moses, including his reservations and the signs God gave him, provide six principles for spiritual mission in all ages, most of which are breached by large sections of evangelicalism today. Yet they are deeply encouraging and vital for Christ’s blessing.
God’s sovereignty seen in the surprising and miraculous rescue of Moses when mighty Pharaoh’s edict was doubly confounded! Faith exercised and rewarded. Christ foreshadowed. Human instrumentality demonstrated through Jochebed and Moses. Separation of ‘church’ and world set in train. Also, why Moses’ conduct in Egypt was faultless.
Assurance blesses the mind and also the emotions or feelings. Here are the forms it takes and what it feels like. Also, how the mind may function spiritually even when feelings fail to cooperate, and how assurance is lost, recovered and maintained.
The centuries between Joseph and the oppression in Egypt are given a single verse noting their miraculous birth rate, but the chapter implies (other texts confirming) six serious failings that brought them to slavery. These same failings bring us down today, while their avoidance lifts us up.
The funeral of Jacob shows the gratitude of Egypt toward him, the reformed character of his sons and the supreme importance in his life of the future promises. Here also is the training of Joseph and his legacy, and how we must always live for eternity.
Jacob’s sons and their tribes are formally blessed and assured of God’s future presence. Warnings are included and positive tribal traits listed, which would combine to equip all Israel. Here also are prophecies of Messiah, and lessons for Christ’s people today, which Israel typified.
Often called ‘The parable of dry bones’, this dramatic prophetic vision predicts a future revival of God’s people, and also gives a narrative of spiritual conversion – the theme of this message. Here is our lifelessness as unbelievers, and the process of receiving new life from God.
Jacob waits for God’s sanction before entering Egypt. Why his listed family names are so significant. God’s plans unfold. Why Egypt? The reasons unveiled – how the church and the seed royal would be spiritually preserved. Lessons from the adoption of Joseph’s sons and the blessing of Reuben.
While the guiding providence of God is notable in Joseph, equally vital is his life-long goal for the repentance and restoration of his brothers (a church typified). Here his strategy is traced for securing conviction, change, reconciliation and provision, mirroring (perhaps including) evangelical conversion.
Joseph in Egypt being prepared by the Lord: the young man’s patience, diligence and integrity; plus fifteen ways in which he is undoubtedly a type of the Great Deliverer, with remarkable examples of God’s providential oversight of His own. Spiritual lessons for today from events.
14 chapters cover Joseph’s history! How can such a deliverer not be a type of Christ? We must reject trivial ideas that Jacob spoiled Joseph, who was disloyal and naive in reporting his brothers’ sins and telling them his dreams. Here are the realities of his spiritual training.
Teenager Dinah goes into the Hivite town only to be seduced by the prince. Her motive; the hypocrisy of her brothers; their terrible revenge; the family imperilled. Why were Jacob’s offspring so wayward? The purpose and lessons to the church of this record. God’s restoration.
Jacob, enriched, returns to the Promised Land after 20 years greatly afraid that Esau will attack him. His two prayers are here examined, especially the hours in wrestling and pleading with God. Here are God’s purposes with the encouragements and challenges for our praying.
The theophany at Bethel and Jacob’s response. A sense of God the goal of preachers. The shocking fraud in marriage – what should Jacob have done? His spiritual virtues. His preparations for home; were his breeding methods credible? Lessons for posterity, and church and world again separated by God.
Two distinct peoples were born to Rebekah. Isaac though godly never accepted that Jacob should have the entire heritage. He wanted Esau to head the family, while Jacob bore the seed royal. But God once again separated church and world. Here are the lessons.
Abraham’s mature faith – noble, magnificent trust; why he received such a hard test; the lessons for us; his reasoning and conclusion; his secret of submission to God; Isaac’s heroic faith and young believers; Jehovah Jireh – the Lord sees ahead and provides; exercising precious faith.
Unknown to Abraham God prepares for him a believing royal neighbour, but the patriarch repeats an old failing. Then Ishmael at 17 persecutes infant Isaac and Sarah realises the seed of the serpent aims to seize the inheritance. God restores separateness to the church. The lessons.
God disclosed to Abraham the destruction of Sodom because his descendants (the church) would ever need to be out of the culture of a world due for destruction. The deliverance of Lot pictures the embarrassment that believers may be found immersed in the world when judgement comes.
At a time when many evangelicals want to be part of worldly culture, we take note of the sorry results of Abram and Sarai’s identical mistake – seeking a godly outcome by worldly means. Then the rich lessons for the Lord’s renewed covenant.
Here is the first prophet of the Bible, the first vision, the first mention of justification by faith, and other ‘firsts’. How Abram’s seed resemble stars, and how Abram saw Christ as chief among them and believed God. Here also is the meaning of the burning furnace and lamp.
Here Moses speaks to people who, despite decades of teaching and remarkable miracles, were still in a spiritual stupor, having no desire to know God. How like them we are before conversion! Here are reasons why we need the Lord, and some of the persuasive pleadings of the Bible.
Abram’s renewed faith; how Lot, though godly, gradually declines in commitment to his earthly hurt; God’s enlarged promises to Abram and the condition of faith met; faith in the rescue of Lot; Abram discloses his vow to God and his refusal of earthly help, with lessons.
Abraham responds to God’s four ‘I will’ promises despite impediments to faith. Sarai’s view of marriage. A nomad for God – principles for today. The lie to Pharaoh to preserve the promised seed a momentary loss of the four promises; lessons for us.
The line of Shem (seed of the woman) had become too close to the line of unbelief when mankind rebelliously built Babel. Judgement forced dispersal to predetermined locations and called out God’s people. Here is the meaning of the dramatic event.
In this historical event is the first imperative ‘come’ of the Bible, a rich type of faith, judgement to come, grace and eternal security. Here too are attributes of God, persisting human depravity, and the theme running through Scripture – the gulf between the world and the church.
By Noah’s time the church of Adam and Seth had so degenerated that it became intertwined with the world – the line of Cain, and the moral breakdown of both was complete. Heroic Noah and family would alone survive. Here are the lessons of the Flood.
As Genesis 3 foretold, the ages-long history of hostility of the world toward the church begins, Abel then Seth representing the godly. Here also is the first death, God’s call of mercy to Cain, the warning, the curse, and the defiance of unbelief.
The arrival of guilt and sin, shame and conscience. The serpent’s method then (and now), the choice of disobedience, the compound sin, the consequences, the beginning of enmity between the church and world, and the Gospel of the promised seed; with observations and application.
Proving there are no contradictions between Genesis 1 and 2; the Sabbath established, and its purpose; the Garden located; its central trees; the covenant test of man; the profound method for forming the woman and its lessons for marriage throughout time.
A new series in Genesis. Why God phased creation over six days; why the particular order; the full glories of light; the higher purpose of night; the picture of a divine craftsman working to the pinnacle of all – mankind. How the literal view deepens faith.
Sermon by Dr Peter Masters
Blood signifies violence, death and sacrifice – the blood of which was applied. Blood is emotive, showing the lengths to which Christ went for His own. Was atoning blood shed at Gethsemane or Gabbatha? How do we defeat Satan by the blood? Did Christ take His blood to Heaven?
A scan of events and trends which are to occur in society and in churches as the end of the age draws near, taken from Revelation, Christ’s words in Matthew 24, and also from 2 Thessalonians 2 and 2 Timothy 3. Also: how believers should react and respond to these.
A single study on the special contribution of those to whom Paul sent greetings at Rome: Phebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epaenetus, Andronicus, etc. What they did, and their contributions took on significance beyond anything they could have imagined – as ours also may.
A single study on the life and teaching of John the Baptist, showing the lessons in his perfect discharge of the commission God gave him, and including his handling of doubt. Here is the last of the prophets, who was himself the subject of prophecy.
Godliness (reverence) is firmly coupled with contentment (satisfaction), and together they are the source of true riches. Reverence sees God’s wisdom, power, love, goodness, providence, protection and plans, while contentment feels them in personal experience, causing us to be lost in wonder, love and praise.
Are we living as strangers and pilgrims, a vital concept for the Christian journey? Throughout the Bible this is the rule, and here are its hardships and its many comforts, together with biblical dos and don’ts, and the resulting spiritual gains and benefits.
Here are the prophecies of Christ, the Branch, and of His ransom for sinners; of the return of the exiles; of the calling out of believers in the Gospel age; of the calling of the Gentiles; of the New Testament ministry, and the regenerate character of the church.
Although almost alone in his stand, Jeremiah obeyed God’s express command in these chapters to make no concession to apostate culture (unlike many evangelicals today). Here also is the source of his strength, his occasions of doubt, meeting with God’s reproof, and his preaching emphasis.
Here we glean the necessity of 1) strong sorrow for the lost, 2) ministering for conviction, 3) humbling ministry, 4) expansive labouring, 5) readiness for trials, 6) closeness to Christ. Precious and powerful verses to challenge and enliven sincere students of the Word.
Why does the prophet appeal to Judah to repent, when he knows they never will? So that God’s heart in the matter will be seen, obstinacy revealed and so that individuals may find the Lord. Here are lines of appeal still to be used today.