Benhar Evangelical Church
THE BENHAR BANNER
‘Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it
may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.’
30th May 2020
Previous Banners are available here
A CALL TO PRAYERWe would ask God’s people to pray for the revival of His church, the awakening of the lost, and a merciful deliverance from the Coronavirus Pandemic at 3 pm, in their own homes, on the Lord’s Day.
The following is chapter thirteen and fourteen of the Rev. William S. Plumer’s book, ‘The Christian.’
XIII. THE CHRISTIAN’S FAITH
The Word of God says, ‘…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…’ (Acts 16:31). That seems to be a very simple way – this way of faith in the Redeemer. It well suits my case. I am foolish and ignorant; Christ is ‘…the wisdom of God.’ (1st Corinthians 1:24). I am very sinful and guilty; Christ is ‘…THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ (Jeremiah 23:6). He is ‘…the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Romans 10:4). I am very weak; I am without strength; Christ is ‘…the power of God unto salvation…’ (Romans 1:16). I have no cloak for my sin. But the merits of Christ are the linen white and clean with which my poor soul may be beauteously arrayed. My tears cannot wash away my sins, but ‘…the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1st John 1:7). In Him sinners boast the possession of greater blessings than angels have – even redeeming love and redeeming grace!
I am not required to bring any price in my hand. By the Gospel, salvation is ‘…without money and without price.’ (Isaiah 55:1). It is well for me that I am not required to pay for salvation. If I were, I would be forever lost. I am a poor sinner – as poor as my sins can make me. I have nothing to commend me to a just and holy God. I deserve all the eternal punishment He has denounced against me. I am guilty. I am all unworthiness; but Jesus is worthy! I rely on Jesus. I take Jesus for my Saviour. He is all my desire and all my salvation. He has borne all my curse. He has died, ‘…the just for the unjust…’, the innocent for the guilty. He is ‘…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29). ‘…with his stripes we are healed.’ (Isaiah 53:5).
One said, "I am no scholar, sir; I have taught myself the last fifteen years, and now I can read a good bit of the Bible; but I can't make out all the big words, you know, sir. Ah! sir, that word 'believe,' that is a great word with me: it is everything to me; and, as far as I can make out, there is no other way of getting to Jesus. He says, 'Come unto me…' and, thank God, I am very happy in coming to Him, by believing on Him."
Oh, yes! no one can rely on Christ too much. He bids us do that great work – that work of God – believing on the Lord Jesus. To believe on Him with the heart is always unto righteousness. It is to look unto Him. It is to come unto Him. It is to receive Him to all the ends and purposes of a complete salvation. It is to reject all other plans and accept the Gospel plan. It is to refuse all other physicians and accept the one great Physician.
Nor is there any danger of being rejected if we come to Christ. He says so: ‘…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ (John 6:37). Ever since men began in faith to call upon Him, He has never spurned any from His presence. The penitent thief, the trembling jailer, and millions on millions have looked to Him and were saved. In all the annals of time can be found no record of a sinner believing with the heart, and then perishing in his sins.
Moreover, Christ's atonement is enough. He has satisfied. He has done enough. He has suffered enough. He has shed enough blood. His undertaking is a glorious undertaking; and it will appear more and more glorious to all eternity. His merits are all-sufficient.
"If all the sin that men have
In will, in word, in thought, in deed,
Since worlds were made, and time begun,
Were laid on one poor sinner's head;
The blood of Jesus Christ alone
Could for this mass of sin atone,
And sweep it all away!"
Who dare say there is any limit to the sufficiency of Christ's atonement? I have never seen nor heard of any godly man attempting so presumptuous a sin.
Then the door is so open: ‘…behold, I have set before thee an open door…’ (Revelation 3:8). And every needed preparation is made: ‘…behold…all things are ready…’ (Matthew 22:4). And the Lord is so earnest: ‘…As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but (I have pleasure) that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11). And I am in such need of help, of just such help as offered me in Christ Jesus. ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.’ (Isaiah 45:22). Of God, Jesus is ‘…made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:’ (1st Corinthians 1:30). He is all and in all. It is only by faith in Christ that we enter into rest – a blessed rest, that shall last forever.
"Rest, weary soul;
The penalty is borne, the ransom paid,
For all your sins full satisfaction made.
Strive not yourself to do what Christ has done.
Take the free gift, and make the joy your own.
No more by pangs of guilt and fear distressed,
Rest, sweetly rest."
Such is the faith of the weak believer; such is the faith of the strong believer. Its essence is reliance on the person and work of the Redeemer. ‘…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…’
XIV. WHY DO I REST CONFIDENTLY IN CHRIST?
This question has been sent me by a friend. I willingly answer it. I begin by saying that if we repose any confidence in Christ at all, the more firmly we do it, the better. Weak faith may be both genuine and saving; but the stronger our faith is, the more is God glorified, and the greater is our peace.
Boasting in an arm of flesh, or relying on an arm of flesh, is very foolish. But we never act so wisely as when we make our boast in the Lord. To glory in the Cross of Christ is lawful, yea, praiseworthy. A strong confidence in the Son of God removes mountains of sorrow and difficulty. Faith cannot be too strong. Confidence becomes presumption only when it is not warranted by Scripture. The more fully and unhesitatingly I credit every word that God has spoken, the more I act in accordance with sound wisdom. Here are some reasons:
1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is ‘…over all, God blessed for ever.’ (Romans 9:5). All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily. He is ‘…the true God, and eternal life.’ (1st John 5:20). He has all the perfections of Jehovah. He knows all my wants and weaknesses, all my sin and misery. He knows the malice of my enemies, and the foolishness of my heart. He is of power to subdue my whole nature to Himself, and to defeat the wiles and machinations of my foes. His grace is all-sufficient. His love is infinite. His wisdom cannot be defeated, nor His power resisted. He is God. I cannot trust Him excessively. I rest confidently in Him because He is God, and He is fitly adored in Heaven and on Earth.
2. I rest confidently in Christ because He is man. He has my whole nature, sin only excepted. He has the heart of a brother. He has a feeling of my infirmity. He drank the cup of sorrow to the dregs. He tasted the bitterness of death. He knows what it is to be rejected of men and deserted by God. I have no sorrow to which He is a stranger. He sympathises with me in all my innocent joys and tastes, as well as in my sufferings and temptations. ‘For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Hebrews 4:15).
3. I rest confidently in Christ because God the Father approves Him and trusts Him. He prepared Him a body. He gloriously anointed Him and set Him apart to His work. Twice by an audible voice He declared: ‘…This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ He stood by Him in all His undertaking. He raised Him from the dead. He set Him at His own right hand. He has ‘…committed all judgment to the Son:’ (John 5:22). He is the delight of His Father. It cannot but be safe and wise in me to rest in Him, in whom His Father confides.
4. I rest confidently in Christ because He has never failed to save and support any and every one that has fled to Him for salvation. Of all who have come short of the heavenly rest, not one put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The men who tire and faint and turn away from the holy commandment, never saw the real glory that is in Christ Jesus. To them He never was ‘…the chiefest among ten thousand’, and ‘…altogether lovely…’. They may have said that all their desire and all their hope were in Christ, but they were deceived. Hear the beloved disciple on such people: ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.’ (1st John 2:19).
5. I rest confidently in Christ because He has given me every assurance that I can desire. By word and by deed, by His painful death, and by His present glorious life, I am persuaded He will do all that is for the good of His believing people. Hear Him: ‘…because I live, ye shall live also.’ (John 14:19). Hear Paul: ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). The promises are great and precious, and almost countless. I know no man who has ever numbered them. ‘For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen…’ (2nd Corinthians 1:20). Nor are they burdened with impracticable conditions. To every humble soul He says, ‘…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Hebrews 13:5).
6. I rest confidently in Christ because I have had a blessed experience of His grace and compassion. Once I was a poor lost sinner, ready to perish. My guilt was fearful. He passed by and said, "Live, for I have ransomed thee!" I found pardon and acceptance in His blood and righteousness. I was all defiled and had an evil heart of unbelief. He took away the heart of stone and gave me a ‘…heart of flesh:’ (Ezekiel 11:19). I was blind. I saw no beauty in holiness or in Jesus Christ. He anointed my eyes, and I saw His glory, full of grace and truth. I once was afraid of the Almighty, but Christ has given me His spirit, so that I cry, ‘…Abba, Father.’ (Romans 8:15). I once loved sin, some forms of it very much; but by His grace ‘I hate vain thoughts…’ and ‘…every false way.’ I ‘Abhor that which is evil.’ (Romans 12:9). Left to myself I was weak as water. I had no might to do good. But by His grace ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Philippians 4:13). My experience surprises me and delights me.
7. I rest confidently in Christ Jesus because He could not reject any that came to Him without refusing the only reward ever promised Him for all His work and sufferings. That reward was seeing poor lost sinners returning from their sins and wanderings to the Great ‘…Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.’ (1st Peter 2:25). The Scripture clearly teaches that Christ's reward should be that ‘…he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand’; that ‘…the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads’; and that for all His sufferings God will ‘…divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong…’. Surely, I ought to be ready to rely on a Redeemer who has done and suffered all required of Him for my salvation. ‘…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.’ (John 13:1). Will He now cast away the souls He has bought at so great a price? I think not.
8. I rest confidently in Christ, because He is King on the ‘…holy hill of Zion’, wields a sceptre of righteousness, has many crowns upon His head, is actually subduing all His enemies, and is Lord of all ‘…to the glory of God the Father’; because He is still the Great Prophet, and the way of life, saying, ‘…learn of me; for I am meek and lowly…’; and because He is my Great High Priest, who ‘…ever liveth to make intercession for…’ me. Him the Father hears always. And so, ‘…he is able also to save them to the uttermost that cometh unto God by him…’ (Hebrews 7:25).
For these and many similar reasons I rest confidently in Christ. Nor shall I be disappointed. I look to Him alone. Angels cannot save me. My brother cannot pay to God a ransom for me. I cannot save myself. To whom can I go but to Jesus only? He has ‘…the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:68). I will rest in Him only. I will rest in Him confidently and forever, and in Him my rest shall be glorious.
Of course, such a one wholly renounces self-righteousness.
I was riding across the State of New Jersey on the old Camden and Amboy Railroad. Just before reaching the eastern terminus we were detained some minutes on a part of the route where the land is very sterile. I had no friend with me. Most of the passengers seemed to be without companions. Various remarks were made as if for the ears of all. At length one gentleman, looking out on the white sands, said, "How is this land like self-righteousness?" Someone replied, "Because the more of it one has, the poorer he is." I thought the riddle good, and the answer excellent. The more self-righteousness one has, the poorer he is.
It strikes me as true, that the poorer one is in moral good, the more self-righteousness he has. In other words, the farther one goes in sin, the harder it is to lead him to a right view of his sins. For more than fifty years I have, as I had opportunity, visited prisons, and conversed freely with their inhabitants. I have attended several unhappy men to their public execution. In all this time I have never heard one frank and full confession of crime. One man admitted that he had killed his wife; but he seemed to excuse himself by saying that he was drunk when he did it. I have never seen a convict who admitted the fairness of his trial, the veracity of the witnesses, and the impartiality of the judge. This is an amazing record. I am greatly surprised at it. Like the lawyer mentioned in Luke 10:29, everyone was ‘…willing to justify himself…’
How is this? It may be safely answered that crimes against both person and property terribly harden the heart. But it is also true that the more men sin, the less sense of sin have they, unless God's Spirit very much quickens the conscience. The more men sin, the blinder they are. The farther a man goes into a dark cave, the more dim are his perceptions.
A CALL TO PRAYER
Continue to pray for the revival of His 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 ourselves.
‘…men ought always to pray, and not to faint;’ (Luke 18:1).
A HYMN OF HOPE
What various hindrances we meet - Tune
In coming to a mercy seat?
Yet who that knows the worth of prayer,
But wishes to be often there.
Prayer makes the darkened cloud
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love,
Brings every blessing from above.
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christian’s armour bright;
And Satan trembles, when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
While Moses stood with arms spread
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when thro’ weariness they failed,
That moment Amalek prevailed.
Have you no words? Ah, think again,
Words flow apace when you complain;
And fill your fellow creature’s ear
With the sad tale of all your care.
Were half the breath thus vainly
To Heav’n in supplication sent;
Your cheerful song would oftener be,
Hear what the Lord has done for me!
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:3).
10. How did God create man?
God created man, male and female, after His own image (Genesis 1:27), in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24) with dominion over the creatures (Genesis 1:28).
QUESTIONS FROM THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY (PART TWO)
1. How many witnesses did the law require to establish a matter?
2. What was the significance of a man being hung on a tree?
3. What was the first of the list of curses from Mount Ebal for?
4. The blessings were subject to what three conditions?
5. For how many years did the LORD lead Israel in the wilderness?
6. In the Song of Moses, what was Israel to ascribe to God?
7. Where was Moses buried?
ANSWERS FOR LAST WEEK’S QUIZ
- Edrei (Deuteronomy 3:1)
- Their heart, their soul, and their might (Deuteronomy 6:5)
- Seventy (Deuteronomy 10:22)
- Give to them (Deuteronomy 15:7)
- Seven days (Deuteronomy 16:13)
- No (Deuteronomy 17:16)
- From among His brethren (Deuteronomy 18:18)
“The devil is not afraid of a dust-covered Bible!”
 1st Peter 3:18
 Matthew 11:28
 Colossians 2:9
 Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5
 Song of Solomon 5:10
 Song of Solomon 5:16
 Psalm 119:113
 Psalm 119:104 & 128
 Isaiah 53:10
 Isaiah 35:10
 Isaiah 53:12
 Psalm 2:6
 Philippians 2:11
 Matthew 11:29
 Psalm 49:7
 Plumer, W.S. The Christian 1878
 Cowper, W. What Variance Hindrances We Meet 1779
Rev. Ian S.D. Loughrin
The Evangelical Manse, 59 Baillie Avenue, Harthill, North Lanarkshire, ML7 5SY