Archive for the ‘The Kingdom of God’ Category

I try to avoid promoting my own sermons very often. But after giving a short series on the doctrine of hell, I continued with a second short series on the subject of biblical, Reformed church growth, something very near my heart. Specifically, I spoke from Matthew 16:18 about building up the church from within by training up, winning over, and thus retaining our baptized, covenant children. We must promote and encourage Christian child-bearing and so helping populate the (visible) Kingdom through these “federally holy” sinners, a mission field in its own right. Then, I laid out in the final messages a call and battleplan for aggressive, local and regional missions. As Prof. Murray said when personally engaging in church-planting in New England, we must “go where the people are, not where you hope they will come.”

As we are planted in southern New England and are involved in a church plant in New Jersey, I call us to pray earnestly and labor believingly for the extension of confessional Presbyterianism here in our northeastern “Samaria.” It may be spiritually ‘rocky soil,’ but God can create sons of Abraham from these stones. He did it before! If things go from bad to worse, a strategic retreat is possible. But let us not give up the Messiah’s ground without a fight! And who knows? Perhaps the Lord will make this “desert to blossom as the rose” again, and restore the pure worship of our godly Puritan forbears.

Do you live in the northeast — in New England, New York, or New Jersey? Are you committed to the old paths of the Puritans and Presbyterians? Do you long for a Third Great Awakening today? Would you be interested in hosting special meeting in your area? Please get in touch with me at 515-783-5637 or mjives dot refparish at gmail dot com.

And if you don’t live in the northeast, would you pray for us? And maybe even consider joining us, if Providence opens a door?

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“Who cares about the Free Church, compared with the Christian good of the people of Scotland?  Who cares about any Church, but as an instrument of Christian good? for, be assured that the moral and religious well-being of the population is of infinitely higher importance than the advancement of any sect.”

-Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

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Had the following been written by anyone other than Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), it might be taken as a specimen of pietistic escapism.  But coming from one known for his lifelong advocacy for political reform and his busy, personal involvement in caring for the poor of Industrializing Britain, it is anything but.  It’s not an unhealthy other-worldliness, by any means.  It’s a reality check.  And a very necessary reminder for us in the weeks running up to the election.

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“There is a delusion that attaches to much of moral and much of political speculation. The purpose of both is to ameliorate the condition of humanity, and to rear the permanent and substantial fabric of a better society than that which now encompasses our globe. It is, indeed, a soothing perspective for the eye of the philanthropist to dwell upon, when he looks onward to fancied scenes of bliss and perfection in the ages that are to come —and while he pictures to himself as the fruit of his enlightened labours in the philosophy of public affairs, that there shall then be love in every heart, and plenty in every habitation, it is scarcely to be wondered at, that he should kindle in the thought of all this goodly munificence, as if it bore upon it somewhat of the worth and greatness of immortality. But apart from religion – and how poor is the amount of all that the mere cosmopolite can do for our species!  And even though, without its aid, he should he able to perfect the temporal economy of nations, never can he perpetuate beyond a few flying years, to a single individual of this vast assemblage, any portion of the bliss or the glory that he thinks to have provided for them. It is death which brings down the worth and computation of his high-blown enterprise, that though established over the whole earth, and weathering the lapse of many centuries, can only gild in brighter and more beauteous characters than before, the fantastic day of each ephemeral generation. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ through which life and immortality are brought to light—it is this alone that can furnish the friend of humanity with solid and enduring materials – and never can he stand on a vantage ground where the mockeries of the grave do not reach him, till labouring and devising for the Christianity of his fellows, he helps to extend an interest that shall survive the wreck of every death-bed; and which, instead of being swept into annihilation, will be ushered to everlasting day, by that trumpet, at whose sound, our world, with all the pomp and all the promise of its many institutions, shall utterly pass away” (Collected Works 16:214).

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