Benhar Evangelical Church 

Covenanter Road 

Eastfield, Harthill 

North Lanarkshire 

ML7 5PB 

THE BENHAR BANNER

‘Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.’
(Psalm 60:4)


The Benhar Banner was launched in March 2020 to minister to the church membership and adherents of Benhar Evangelical Church and to keep them in touch with each other and events at the church.  The Benhar Banner is, at present, a weekly publication, and is published here each Saturday.

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4th July 2020

Previous Banners are available here

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SERMON FOR SUNDAY

The following is chapter twenty-three and twenty-four of the Rev. William S. Plumer’s book, ‘The Christian.’


XXIII. THE CHRISTIAN’S JOY

The Scriptures as frequently and as urgently call on the righteous to rejoice, as they call on the wicked to weep and mourn. ‘…let all who put their trust in thee rejoice…’[1], ‘Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad…’[2], ‘…let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice’[3], ‘Rejoice evermore.’[4] These are mere samples of what may be found in both the Old and the New Testaments.

Nor is the joy of the righteous vain and empty. He has good cause for the very highest exultations in which he ever indulges. Jehovah Himself is a never-failing fountain of gladness to the humble. The Psalmist calls God his ‘…exceeding joy…’[5]. The darkest gulf into which the human mind ever looks, is the gulf of atheism. A world without a sun would be dismal, but a world without a God would be horrible. No wonder that the pious so exult in the Divine existence, and in all the Divine perfections. ‘…Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth’[6] is a song sung wherever holy beings are found.

The salvation of God is a matter of perpetual gladness to the saints in Heaven and on Earth. The plan, the Author, the cost, the nature, and the end of redemption, fill the soul with pious wonder, and ‘…with joy unspeakable and full of glory:’[7]

In like manner the godly have joy in every good thing, in all the common bounties of Providence. They know that everything is sent in love. They even rejoice in tribulation. The martyrs have exultingly washed their hands in the flames which consumed them and sang the praises of Immanuel until their voices sunk in death.

It does not diminish, but rather increases, and gives permanency to this joy that it is made sober by trembling, that is, by a holy caution, a beneficial fear. ‘…let him who thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall’[8], is a wholesome caution, and makes no godly man despondent. Godly fear is closely allied to pious joy. It was when the prophet had such a glorious vision of God that he trembled, and his lips quivered, and rottenness entered into his bones, and he trembled in himself, that he exultingly exclaimed: Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18). So, we see how by fear joy works, and by fear is made perfect. For the saints ‘Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.’ (Psalm 2:11).

The Christian has great joy when the kingdom of Heaven is first set up in his own heart. No day is more memorable than the day of one's espousal to Christ. How could it be otherwise? The poor soul, long oppressed by the Devil, having all its noble faculties loaded with the chains of ignorance, guilt, depravity, and misery, and made to serve base lusts, is at that time delivered from its cruel taskmasters, and experiences ‘…the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ (Romans 8:21). ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ (John 8:36).

Oftentimes in its pilgrimage the soul is allowed to have glorious views of the mystery of God and of Christ. If not taken to the Mount of Transfiguration, it at least ascends the mount of ordinances, and there it is ‘…satisfied as with marrow and fatness…’. (Psalm 63:5) Then it is made like the chariots of Amminadab. It holds sweet fellowship with Heaven. Its fellowship is truly ‘…with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.’ (1st John 1:3).

At the close of his great work on the glory of Christ, John Owen has a chapter on the way and means of the recovery of spiritual decays, and of obtaining fresh springs of grace. He says, "There are two things which those who, after a long profession of the Gospel, are entering into the confines of eternity, do long for and desire. The one is, that all their breaches may be repaired, their decays recovered, their backslidings healed. The other is, that they may have fresh springs of spiritual life, and vigorous actings of all Divine graces, in spiritual mindedness, holiness, and fruitfulness unto the praise of God, the honour of the Gospel, and the increase of their own peace and joy. These things they value more than all the world, and all that is in it." To such in a very pleasing degree God grants their desire. He has said that He would. Hear Him: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.(Isaiah 46:4). Again, He says, They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; (Psalm 92:14). Because God is faithful, He gives increase of peace and joy to His aged servants. I have met many such in my lifetime.

I have met some such the last year. They tell me that they are just waiting, that they have no tormenting fears, that ‘…the joy of the LORD is (their) strength’[9], and that their hearts are where their treasure is,[10] even in Heaven. Blessed are such. Their joys bear them quite above their trials and their sorrows.

A young orchard full of blooms is a goodly sight. But a matured orchard in autumn, laden with the richest fruit, is still more charming. The last is the reality; the first was but the promise. The end of sowing is reaping. The end of a life of piety is comfort and joy in the Holy Spirit. He who says there is no solid nor abounding joy to the Christian, is a stranger to vital godliness. The joy of the LORD is his strength.


XXIV. THE CHRISTIAN’S SORROW

"God had one Son on Earth without sin but never a son on Earth without affliction." This has long been regarded as one of the best sayings of Augustine. It is very true and quite coincides with Scripture. It is fully borne out by that saying of the prophet David: ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous…’[11]. Blessed Paul says, ‘…whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’[12] And sixty years after His ascension to glory, Jesus Himself said, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten…’. (Revelation 3:19).

All this, when rightly considered, is seen to be fair and fitting. For if the Saviour suffered, it is right the saved should suffer also. It is a great thing to be conformed to Christ in temper or suffering. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…’[13], ‘Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:’ (Colossians 1:24). As Christ's sufferings prepared Him to be the Captain of our salvation and our sympathising Friend, so our sufferings make us mindful of the sorrows of our Lord and increase our sympathy with Him in all His undertaking for us.

There is a ‘need be’ for all the trials of God's children on Earth. Their pangs promote their purity. God puts them into the furnace that He may consume their dross, take away all their sin, and bring them out as pure gold. ‘…he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.’  (Lamentations 3:33). He has no pleasure in seeing His chosen suffer, but He delights to see His image on their hearts perfected. He chastens them for their profit, that they may be partakers of His holiness. He is a wise and good Father, and all His people on Earth are more or less wayward. Blessed be His name. He will not cease to chastise them until their wills submit to His and rejoice in tribulation. Thereby the Lord is honoured and their salvation promoted.

Future glory will be somewhat in proportion to what Christ's people suffer for Him here. The crown of martyrdom is exceedingly bright. The glorious throng which John saw was made up of those who ‘…came out of great tribulation, and (had) washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ (Revelation 7:14).  How sweet will be rest after turmoil, peace after war, a quiet home after a long and perilous journey.

Where is the experienced minister who has not often seen one year of suffering, do more for the glory of Christ than five years of service?

N. D. was a small man whose speech sounded very unusual. He was not popular. He lived in considerable retirement. He had but little worldly goods, yet no one accused him of stinginess. For one in his circumstances he gave liberally. He was a great student of the Word of God. He saw in men much that he could not approve. Nor did he keep silence at such times. He was very punctual in attending the house of God. He maintained family worship with great regularity. No one saw any flaws in his morals. But he could not express himself well on any subject. His manners were stiff and awkward.

When he had been a professor of religion for about twenty-five years, he became a great sufferer. A complication of diseases came upon him. No such case of bodily disease had ever been seen in his neighbourhood. He could not sleep for as much as six weeks at a time. He was in constant and excruciating pain. No one could see him without feeling great pain at his bodily distress. He wore away rapidly. He could not walk at all. He could not turn himself in bed. In this sharp trial his piety shined forth with great clearness. Not a murmur escaped his lips. He showed no impatience. His meekness and mildness were very striking. He was full of thankfulness to God and man. Of the least favour done him he would make some respectful and grateful mention. His whole character seemed to be changed.

Yet he did not profess to be recently converted. On the contrary, he still believed that he had met with a saving change of heart long before. He spoke with delight of many pleasant days he had in youth when alone or when publicly worshiping God. He seemed to remember with accuracy and to quote with aptness considerable portions of God's Word. He was a wonder unto many. Yes, he was a wonder to himself. He expressed his views as candidly as ever, but with the greatest gentleness and charitableness. His case was much spoken of. Many a Christian went miles to see him. The feeling of everyone seemed to be much like that of the prophet when he saw the bush amid the flame unconsumed, ‘…I will now turn aside, and see this great sight…’. (Exodus 3:3). And, truly, it was good to see how grace could bear one up, and bear him on, and bear him through, when his body was wracked with exquisite tortures.

N. D. lived several years after this season of violent suffering, but he never ceased to be an invalid, nearly helpless, and often full of pain. His faith seemed to grow exceedingly. His end was peace.[14] This little narrative should teach us:

1. Not to judge of character by mere voice or manners. Some godly men have no manners at all, and some very godly men have very bad manners.

2. Yet we ought to study to commend to others our religion by those ways which are pleasant, ‘…lovely…’, and ‘…of good report…’. (Philippians 4:8). Piety is no foe to the civilities of life.

3. No man knows what he can do and what he can bear until he is tried and receives new supplies of grace. N. D. considered himself a wonder of mercy.

4. Let no man judge his brother. The weak brother ‘…shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.’ (Romans 14:4). He who is most humble is best prepared to stand severe tests.

5. We greatly err when we lightly esteem the least of Christ's disciples, the poorest of the saints. On trial they may quite outshine us.

6. It is certain that neither N. D. nor any other godly man who has left this world regrets any sufferings he ever endured on Earth. All is well that ends in glory.

7. Amazing is the distinguishing love of God which often takes men who are naturally neither attractive nor amiable and makes them the monuments of redeeming mercy. ‘…I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25-26).

The following ‘Song of a Tired Servant’ has recently been printed in several journals:


One more day's work - tune

One more day's work for Jesus,
One less of life for me!
But Heaven is nearer,
And Christ is dearer
Than yesterday, to me.
His love and light
His love and light
Fill all my soul tonight.

Refrain
One more day's work for Jesus,
One more day's work for Jesus,
One more day's work for Jesus,
One less of life for me!


One more day's work for Jesus:
How glorious is my King;
'Tis joy, not duty,
To speak His beauty;
My soul mounts on the wing
At the mere thought
At the mere thought
How Christ its life has bought.

Refrain

One more day's work for Jesus,
Sweet, sweet the work has been,
To tell this story,
To show the glory,
Where Christ's flock enter in.
How did it shine
How did it shine
In this poor heart of mine!

Refrain

One more day's work for Jesus.
In hope, in faith, in prayer,
His word I've spoken,
His bread I've broken
To souls faint with despair;
And bade them flee
And bade them flee
To Him who has saved me.

Refrain

One more day's work for Jesus.
Yes, and a weary day.
But Heaven shines clearer,
And rest comes nearer.
At each step of the way.
And Christ is all;
And Christ is all;
Before His face I fall.

Refrain

O blessed work for Jesus;
O rest at Jesus' feet!
There toil seems pleasure,
My wants are treasure,
And for Him looks sweet.
Lord, if I may, I'll serve
You more another day.[15]


A CALL TO PRAYER

Continue to pray for the revival of the Church, the awakening of the lost, and a merciful deliverance from the Coronavirus Pandemic at 3 pm, in your own homes, on the Lord’s Day.


POINTS FOR PRAYER

Pray for our Queen, our governments, our National Health Service, our key workers, our country, our community, our church, and our families.

Pray for churches, missions, missionary organisations, and the persecuted church.


MEMORY VERSE

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8).


SPURGEON’S CATECHISM

15. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression (1st Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12).


THE BIBLE

A friend went into one of our lock factories, and he was shown upwards of a hundred locks. He was told that none of the keys would open any of the locks, except the particular one for which it was made. But then a master-key was shown to him, and this would open any of the hundred locks.

I believe Holy Scripture is like that master-key! There are myriads of human hearts, with various sins, temptations, sorrows, cares, and fears, but the Bible is fitted alike to each and all. It points out the remedy for every form of misery and evil – it leaves no heart and no trouble without some balm suited for its need.

Holy Scripture is our Father's love letter to His redeemed children. We may trace the handwriting. The spirit of truthholiness, and love is seen all through. We mark that He knows and provides for the needs of everyone in His large family. There are warnings to caution us against every form of sin, however subtle. There is consolation provided for every one of the manifold varieties of human woe. Pain and suffering, anxieties about the future, disappointments, losses, bereavements – not one of these evils, or any other, but we find some appropriate solace, some heavenly promise, that can lift the heart of the believer above it. Who could so completely have provided for every need but He who made man and knows the hearts of those whom He has made?[16]


BIBLE QUIZ

QUESTIONS FROM THE BOOK OF RUTH

1.   What was the name of Naomi’s husband?

2.   What was the name of the daughter-in-law

who returned to Moab?

3.   At what time did Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem?

4.   What was the name of Naomi’s kinsman whose field

Ruth gleaned from?

5.   How many measures of barley were given to Ruth

by Naomi’s kinsman?

6.   What did Naomi’s kinsman do with his shoe?

7.   What was the name of Ruth’s famous great-grandson?


ANSWERS FOR LAST WEEK’S QUIZ

  1. Jephthah (Judges 11:34-35)
  2. Shibboleth (Judges 12:6)
  3. Samson (Judges 16:15-21)
  4. Micah (Judges 17:5)
  5. The children of Dan (Judges 18:26-27)
  6. 700 (Judges 20:16)
  7. Mizpeh (Judges 21:1-3)
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Rev. Ian S.D. Loughrin
The Evangelical Manse, 59 Baillie Avenue, Harthill, North Lanarkshire, ML7 5SY
benharpastor@live.co.uk
01501751887

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[1] Psalm 5:11

[2] Psalm 48:11

[3] Psalm 68:3

[4] 1st Thessalonians 5:16

[5] Psalm 43:4

[6] Revelation 19:6

[7] 1st Peter 1:18

[8] 1st Corinthians 10:12

[9] Nehemiah 8:10

[10] Mark 6:21; Luke 12:34

[11] Psalm 34:19

[12] Hebrews 12:6

[13] 2nd Timothy 2:12

[14] Psalm 37:37

[15] Plumer, W.S.     The Christian         1878

[16] Everard, G.        Strong and Free, A Book for Young Men         1882