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Training for the Christian Life

Girding up the loins of the mind is vital protection from the unprecedented self-indulgence and self-seeking of today’s culture, in which what we want, like and enjoy determines everything. Here is Peter’s exhortation to manage our thoughts and emotions, with inspired encouragements.

Christ’s Teaching on the Commandments

Five ways by which the Lord fulfils and completes the moral law, leaving it as the “royal law” and standard of holiness for believers. Here, also are the texts which prove that the 4th commandment (the sabbath principle) is repeatedly affirmed in the New Testament.

Satan’s Power, and its Limitations

Here are many facts about Satan and his demons, what they can and cannot do since Calvary, including their inability to possess people (not deeply involved in occult activity), or to search hearts and read thoughts. Here also is how we are to resist him.

Spiritual Vigour

We are meant to see ourselves as people commissioned by God to engage in a noble warfare, sent on our way with strong promises of success. To avoid failure, and to know the nearness of Christ, we must constantly exercise faith and heed conscience, but do we? Here is how we should do so.

Paul Our Pattern

Aspects of Paul’s God-given example, including his simplicity, courage (only he could reform the church at Jerusalem!), loyalty to his calling, great feelingfulness, and spirit of sacrifice – body, heart and mind. What an inspiration, challenge and aim is his life, yet speaking across the centuries.

A Model Young Believer

Timothy proves that a third-generation Christian does not have to be third-rate. Here is his background and characteristics, together with the race analogy which kept him in daily prayer and effort. This is the life of ‘focus’ which we all need, young and old.

Appropriating God’s Peace

How do we cope with troubles? Do we put into practice the steps so carefully presented by Paul for finding God’s peace? Here are those five steps for knowing peace even at the eye of the storm, which keeps our reasoning clear, and the Lord in view.

Helps for Overcoming Sin

A surprising number of striking helps stand out in the course of the epistle, some designed to jolt us, and others to help motivate us to more conscientious effort. From true confession to steps for keeping the soul, here are ten inspired counsels for the battle against sin.

Christian Loyalty

Compromising Sardis and faithful Philadelphia are here contrasted. Doctrine was right, but the ‘works’ of Sardis were its ruin, doubtless because members accommodated in their lives idolatry. Today the equivalent is worldliness in personal life and in worship. Which church do we resemble?

Strengthening Faith

Given by God, faith suddenly brings to life the realities of the Gospel and we come to Christ. It also has a rational aspect here explained. Then it must be exercised and increased as life goes on, and this famous, inspiring passage shows how we must do this in all circumstances.

God’s Directions for Happiness

A remarkable group of proverbs teach that spiritual joy must be deepened by the individual believer taking the rights steps here enumerated. They also show that joy needs spiritual priorities, restraint over material things, fellowship, control of anger, and worthy not trivial meat for the mind. Here is spiritual happiness!

Exploring the Love of Christ

A single study showing the nature of Christ’s love for His own, which in turn compels, motivates and energises us to love and serve Him. Illustrated by reference to various miracles of Christ, each highlighting a distinctive, precious and heart-warming aspect of His love.

Lifting Up the Soul

Not blissful happiness or ‘Christian hedonism’, because in a world of sin there are countless griefs and trials, but the lifting up of the inner person. This psalm remarkably conducts us through an agenda for thanksgiving and reflection that greatly strengthens and gladdens the heart.

Communion with Christ

Communion is described by Paul, not in terms of a mystical sensation, but as the realisation of Christ’s love in our ‘inner lives’. Here we see how His love passes knowledge; how it is a lifelong and eternally-progressive appreciation; how it transforms us; and how it makes us feel.

The Message of Malachi

The last prophet of the OT challenges Jerusalem’s severe spiritual decline, around 425 BC. The trouble lay with insincere ministers, shocking compromise, and sheer lack of commitment. Yet here also are detailed predictions of Christ, of the age of the Gospel, and of the eternal destiny of the faithful.

The Purpose and Message of Haggai

The first wave of Jews to return from Babylonian exile had stopped building the temple to focus on their own homes. Haggai brings God’s rebuke, revealing how God inhibits the happiness of His erring people, then giving immense encouragement, assurance of preservation, and prophesying Christ’s coming and the Christian era.

Daniel, Prophet of the Exile

Everything in Daniel’s exceptional life and ministry arose from his first test on arrival in Babylon. This, with later tests, and his revelations, maintained him for 70 years at the top of an empire, for the preservation of Zion, and for imparting unique prophecies on historic eras and the last times. Here is biblical faithfulness at its noblest.

What Elisha’s Prophets Taught

What Elisha’s prophets taught – alongside the law, salvation and the psalms of spiritual life, they taught God’s lessons from events, including the miracles of Elijah and Elisha. Here are examples of their sermons from miracles, including the siege of Samaria and its overthrow.

Analysing Semi-Conversion

Analysing semi-conversion – Elisha’s servant despite his spiritual advantages fell, and the reasons show pseudo-conversion, its signs, causes and dangers. By contrast the miracle of the floating axe shows a student prophet with marks of grace and dependence on the Lord.

Elijah’s Vindication at Horeb

The spiritual meaning behind Elijah’s withdrawal (not desertion!) from Jezebel’s murderous threats, his deep dismay and despondency at the seeming failure of Carmel events to move hardened Israelites, and his pilgrimage to Sinai seeking light. God’s gracious treatment of His faithful prophet, and his new commission.

Our Manifesto

Ministry at the Tabernacle hardly ever refers to the church’s own labours, but this message sets out vital aims of the seminary (LRBS) in the preparation of preachers and officers for the eight principal spiritual battles of our day. Here are the issues – so often not addressed in seminaries – that are testing and sifting Bible churches today.

Spiritual Lessons from the Life of David (8)

David’s census – a lesson for God’s people throughout time about acting only on divine authority. Who inspired it: God or Satan? Why was it so wrong? The ‘normative principle’ of God’s rule over us. The problem of pride and God’s precautions for us. A verse also about heartfelt worship.

Spiritual Lessons from the Life of David (4)

The contrast between love and lust seen in Amnon’s rape of Tamar; Jonadab, like Satan, will prove a treacherous friend; Absalom unites charm and murderous cunning; a coup prepared after ’40 years’ – not an error but linking to the public mood that deposed Samuel.

Autumn Sun

Following comments on the summary of David’s wars (ch 8), the kindness shown to Mephibosheth (ch 9), and the Ammonite war (ch 10), this message focusses on the fall of David into sin, the causes and consequences, applied to God’s people today (ch 11-12).