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PGP 185.5One apartment, two stories. Way back, I had met “Tyrone,” a truly broken soul who has been in and out of jail. Now that he’s back in jail, I’ve heard from him and have gone to pay him a visit. I wasn’t able to take a Bible in, or anything for that matter. So for about an hour I preached the Gospel to him from texts in my head as we sat without privacy in a large, open room with others, seated in our little tête-à-tête. We were one of many, but here was conversation into which the angels desired to look.

Among other things, I spoke of our Lord being about His “Father’s business” from Luke 2. Who was His Father after all? Was it Joseph? No. Joseph had nothing to do with Jesus’ conception. He was formed by the Spirit, coming down upon upon the Virgin. He was formed as the God-man, with two distinct natures in one person. Why was this? The Savior who had come for him, to save Tyrone’s soul, had to stand on both sides of the equation. He had to reconcile. What is reconciliation? Bringing hostile parties together; and in this case, bringing offenders, spiritual criminals, back into a right relation with the offended God. O Lord, make this seed sown to bear forth fruit unto righteousness and praise!

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I’m heading to Grand Rapids to share about my urban evangelistic outreach in the greater Providence, R.I. metro. A meeting for the general public will be held at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary at 7 p.m., this coming Monday, February 17.

For those unfamiliar with the work, the Reformed Parish Mission (RPM) is an outreach effort of the Presbyterian Reformed Church (PRC) of R.I. A major focus of RPM is bringing the Gospel and a confessionally Reformed witness to South Providence through regular, neighborhood visitation, in the conviction that minorities, immigrants, and the less privileged are easily neglected and are often more receptive. This effort aims at the gathering of folks to the regular Lord’s day services of the congregation, their conversion and upbuilding, and the offering of practical and constructive life-help as we are able.

In my slideshow presentation, we’ll be talking about Thomas Chalmers, his parish mission vision and method, and my attempt to operate on these principles in 2020. If you are a confessional Presbyterian or Reformed believer with a passion for advancing the Gospel and live in the Grand Rapids area, please join us! And if you don’t live in the area, but know someone who might be interested, please pass this along.

More about RPM.

RPM Bulletin Insert

Mike Hutchinson with the True Presbyterian Podcast interviewed me on a recent episode, “The Parish Ministry of Thomas Chalmers.” (What else? 😉) He does a pretty good job – check out his other episodes also!

 

“In a word, being to bring Christ and the church together, our [preachers’] aim must be, to persuade people to come out of their estate they are in, to come and take Christ. Whatsoever makes for this, that course we must use, though it be with never so much abasing of ourselves. Therefore the gospel is promulgated in a sweet manner. ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God,’ etc. The law comes with ‘Cursed, cursed;’ but now in the gospel Christ is preached with sweet alluring. ‘I beseech you, brethren,’ and ‘We as ambassadors beseech you, as if Christ by us did beseech you,’ etc., 2 Cor. 5:20. This is the manner of the dispensation in the gospel, even to beg of people that they would be good to their own souls. Christ, as it were, became a beggar himself, and the great God of heaven and earth begs our love, that we would so care for our own souls that we would be reconciled unto Him. It was fitter, indeed, that we should beg of him. It was fit we should seek to be reconciled to him, but God so stoops in the dispensation and ministry of the gospel, that He becomes a beggar and suitor to us to be good to our souls. As if he had offended us, He desires us to be reconciled. The wrong is done on our part, yet He so far transcends the doubtings of man’s nature, that He would have nothing to cause man’s heart to misgive, no doubts or scruples to arise. He Himself becomes a beseecher of reconciliation, as if He were the party that had offended. This is the manner of the publication of the gospel.”

-Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)

Another addition to the Chalmers Audio Library. A tremendous address! Little wonder that Wilberforce once wrote of him, “All the world is wild about Chalmers.” If this sermon doesn’t drive you to your prayer closet, what will?

IMG_1424“And if he had not been man, how could he have led us into the way of universal holiness, by the influence of his own example, which is, doubtless, an excellent method to reform mankind? It is not only necessary to enact rules of virtue by a kingly authority,but likewise, by example, to make precepts practicable and honourable. When brave generals, though of the noblest lineage, design to animate their armies to heroic achievements, they voluntarily submit their persons to all the humble offices and hardships of a state of war, courageously lead their troops into the high places of the field of battle,and expose their lives to the greatest perils. This our Lord has done for us; the Captain of our salvation, the King of the church, and Lord of the universe, has been made perfect through sufferings.”

-Gilbert Tennent

Chalmers, A Single Human Being

Image. Gordon, Sir John Watson. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 – 1847. Preacher and Social Reformer. About 1838. Scottish National Print Gallery, Edinburgh. Accessed December 19, 2019. [URL]