Benhar Evangelical Church 

Covenanter Road 

Eastfield, Harthill 

North Lanarkshire 

ML7 5PB 

THE BENHAR BANNER

5th Edition

‘Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it

may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.’

(Psalm 60:4)


~

25th April 2020

Previous Banners are available here

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A CALL TO PRAYER

We 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, in their own homes, at 3 pm on the Lord’s Day.

SERMON FOR SUNDAY

The following is the third and fourth chapter of the Rev. William S. Plumer’s book, ‘The Christian.’

III. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

When we speak of the Christian life, we may refer either to the gracious principle implanted in the heart of the regenerate, or to the ordinary methods of its manifestation. Let us look at both.

The life of God in the soul of a believer is a great MYSTERY. In any case life is somewhat unknown to us. But the life of a child of God is very far removed from the cognisance of the careless. Believers themselves are God's hidden ones. They are fed and nourished by the hidden manna. The secret of the Lord is with them. He shows them His covenant. Their life is ‘…hid with Christ in God.’[1] True, when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, then shall they also appear with Him in glory. But now they are unknown to the world, except as their light shines in the darkness.

The Christian life is SUPERNATURAL. It is something far above the powers of the carnal man. That the blind should see, the deaf hear, the lame man leap as a deer, and the dead live, can be accounted for only on the ground that it is the work of God. We are all dead in trespasses and sins, until Divine grace makes us new creatures. Over our mind, dense clouds of smoke and thick darkness from the bottomless pit have settled. We have eyes, but we see not. Our imaginations are vain. Our memories are polluted. Our ingenuity devises mischief and foolish evasions and excuses. Our wills are perverse and stubborn. Our daring in sin is frightful. To think of our state might well make one to shudder. Our enmity to God is mortal. If such are changed from hatred to love, from sin to holiness it must be by God's power, His mighty power.

This Christian life is the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and no man knows the way of the Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.[2] It is but vanity and presumption for us poor worms to claim to comprehend the ways of God.

The Christian life is to the soul that experiences it, A NEW LIFE. ‘…old things are passed away…all things are become new.’[3] Like all new life, it is full of wonders. Everything pertaining to it is fresh and suited to rejoice the heart.

And so, it is a HAPPY life. The joy of the Lord has great strength in it. The buoyancy of the soul that is stayed on God is often amazing, and always mighty.

This life is also ABIDING. It is not always equally strong, but it is fed by new supplies of strength until the last.

Of course, the Christian life is a great MERCY. So says the apostle of the circumcision: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope…’[4] etc. So says the apostle of the Gentiles: ‘…God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ…’[5] etc.

The Christian life manifests itself

1. By healthful and regular pulsations. The child of God has a heart, and its throbbings are not spasmodic and occasional. Because Christ lives in them, the life of Christians is constant.

2. The Christian life manifests itself by cries – cries that enter the ears of the Lord Almighty. As soon as Paul was renewed, it was said of him, ‘…behold, he prayeth’[6] No Christian lives without prayer.

3. The Christian life manifests itself by a relish for suitable food. Even the newborn babe desires ‘…the sincere milk of the word…’ that it may ‘…grow thereby:’[7] After a while, the strong meat of God's Word is required, and it is relished also.

4. Wondrously, too, does the child of grace enjoy the pure and heavenly atmosphere of the Church and ordinances of God's house, and the sweet moments of the communion of saints in prayer and praise, in supplication and thanksgiving.

5. Such Christians will grow – will grow up into more and more stability, heavenly-mindedness, constancy, courage, love, faith, and hope. Of some, Paul says their faith grew ‘…exceedingly…’[8]

 6. The Christian life will show itself by activity. There will sooner or later be motion where there is life. In due time the renewed man will walk, and leap, and praise God. When one said to an ancient philosopher, "There is no such thing as motion," the sage said not a word, but arose and walked across the room. That was answer enough. So, if any say there is no Christian life in the world, let us, by walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, prove that they are mistaken.

There is a reality, there is a power in heartfelt piety. On this earth nothing is more powerful. But for true piety, the world would soon come to an end – the cries of its wickedness perpetually calling for vengeance. But as ten righteous men would have saved the cities of the plain, so for the elect's sakes the day of vengeance is shortened and the day of grace prolonged.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

The word ‘doctrine’ is found more than fifty times in the Scriptures. It has shades of meaning, but it commonly has the idea of knowledge, instruction, teaching. Our present business is with Christian doctrine.

The prophets, Christ, and His Apostles did teach something coherent and harmonious. There is a system of truth. It differs from Paganism, Mohammedanism, Deism, Judaism. Christian doctrine embraces the truths of the Gospel. In general, it consists in the instruction given us in all God's Word. In particular it is made up of those great principles urged by Christ and His Apostles as expository of the Old Testament, and as declaring the mind and will of God.

There is such a thing as Christian doctrine in opposition to anti-Christian error. Truth is opposed to falsehood. Both Solomon and Paul speak of ‘…good doctrine…’[9]. Four times does Paul speak of ‘…sound doctrine…’[10], which is the same as good doctrine. All true and sound doctrine is good whether it pleases or offends men. In Scripture it is called ‘…the doctrine of God…’[11], ‘…the doctrine of the Lord’[12],  ‘…the doctrine of God our Saviour…’[13], ‘…the doctrine of Christ…’[14], ‘…the apostle’s doctrine…’[15], ‘…the doctrine which is according to godliness;’[16]. In Scripture it is synonymous with ‘truth,’

‘…the truth in Christ…’[17], ‘…the truth is in Jesus:’[18], ‘…the truth of God…’[19] and ‘…the word of truth…’[20]. It is elsewhere called ‘…the form of sound words…’[21] and ‘Sound speech, that cannot be condemned…’[22].

Christian doctrine is just the opposite of what the Bible calls ‘…strange doctrines…’[23], ‘…the commandments and doctrines of men’[24], ‘…philosophy and vain deceit…’[25],  ‘…doctrines of devils…’[26],  ‘…the tradition of men…’[27],  ‘…damnable heresies…’[28]

So that it cannot be denied that there is such a thing as sound doctrine, just as there is unsound doctrine; there is good doctrine, and there is evil doctrine; there is doctrine according to godliness, and there is doctrine contrary to piety; there is a word that nourishes men up in faith, and there is a word that eats as a canker. Christian doctrine is always good, safe, edifying.

We are bound to discriminate between Christian doctrine and all its opposites. The Word of God requires us to ‘Prove all things…’ and to ‘…hold fast that which is good’[29]; to ‘…try the spirits…’[30], and not to believe every spirit; to judge of religious teachers by their doctrines. This can be done. Many have done it. We can know the truth. ‘…the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees’[31] never did accord with the doctrine of Christ. ‘…the doctrine of Balaam…’[32] and ‘…the doctrine of the Nicolaitans…’[33] always were at war with truth and righteousness, always were abhorred by godly men, and always did subvert those who lent a willing ear to them. Light and darkness are not more opposite than truth and error. Arsenic and flour look very much alike; but one kills while the other nourishes. All are bound to distinguish between Christian doctrine and opposing errors.  

Christian doctrine is not the product of earth. Man is not its author. All saving truth is heaven-born. Christ so taught: ‘…My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.’[34] The consent of all men cannot transmute a lie or a fable, into the truth. ‘…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’[35] If God says anything, it is true. If He says it not, it is either not true, or it concerns not our salvation.

Christian doctrine must be known, loved, and embraced. It is essential to right views of God's nature, government, and worship. Before one believes that he needs a Saviour, he must believe that he is a sinner. Men reject the truth from pride, or prejudice, or the lack of right affections. The Scripture warrants us in saying that men hold false doctrine ‘…because they received not the love of the truth…’[36] and that proves a wicked state of mind. All but ungodly men love the truth. Our salvation depends upon our receiving the Christian verity. ‘…he that believeth not is condemned already…’[37], ‘…if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins[38],Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.[39] These are a few specimens of what God's Word says, to teach us how essential a hearty reception of the very doctrines of Scripture is to our securing eternal life. Error may lead to bigotry, blasphemy, or superstition but never to holiness.

False doctrine dishonours God at every step. It defiles the conscience, corrupts the heart, blinds the mind, and makes vain our imaginations. On the other hand, truth leads to godliness. When inspired men would stir up God's people to courage, constancy, humility, benevolence, adoration, and holiness, they never present ‘…old wives' fables…’[40], but the great truths of Scripture. Nor are God's friends at liberty to hold back any portion of the truth. The rejection of some of the doctrines of God will bring utter ruin on the soul. To believe a lie in religion is a very alarming symptom. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.[41]

We must not only hold the Christian doctrine, but we must hold it to the rejection of opposite errors. The Pharisees held considerable truth, but they made it all vain by their traditions. And we must hold the Christian doctrine at all cost and at all hazards. ‘Buy the truth, and sell it not…’[42]

Myriads have laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus; and they acted wisely in so doing. By thus losing their lives, they made sure eternal life. It would not be difficult to show that all the truths of religion, and all the civil and religious liberty on earth, are the fruit of the sufferings of men, who hazarded their lives for Christian doctrine.[43]

A HYMN OF HOPE  -  tune

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend His cause;
Maintain the honour of His Word,
The glory of His cross.

Jesus, my God! I know His name,
His name is all my trust;
Nor will He put my soul to shame,
Nor let my hope be lost.

Firm as His throne His promise stands,
And He can well secure
What I’ve committed to His hands
Till the decisive hour.

Then will He own my worthless name
Before His Father’s face,
And in the new Jerusalem
Appoint my soul a place.[44]

POINTS FOR PRAYER

Pray for the Queen, her government, the National Health Service, key workers, and scientists.

Pray for the sorrowing, the sick, the sad, and the lonely.

Pray for the work and witness of Bible-believing churches and missions.

Ask God to use our online services to bring souls to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

MEMORY VERSE

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.(John 8:12)  

SPURGEON’S CATECHISM

5. Are there more Gods than one?
There is but one only (Deuteronomy 6:4), the living and true God (Jeremiah 10:10).

ANSWERS TO AFFLICTIONS

This is the second of six letters written by the Rev. John Newton about afflictions.

My Dear Madam,

I perceive that your heavenly Father has again put you into the furnace and I trust He will divinely impress upon your heart, that there is a needs be for it, and that the outcome of your present trial shall end in some good or another to your soul. His word tells us that trials are absolutely necessary, and why they are so as He would not afflict those He loves, but for their real profit. So, He chooses those afflictions for us, and appoints them for us at such seasons, and attended with such circumstances, as He sees will be (all things considered) most for our spiritual advantage. The afflictions and trials of His people are always sent, either to prevent or to cure something still worse. We know how we feel under a present trouble but we know not how we might have been without it. Satan is compared to a fowler, and we sometimes are as little upon our guard as a thoughtless bird – the danger is close to us, but we are not aware of it. But, as a sudden noise affrights the bird, and makes it take wing and escape the snare  so the Lord often disappoints the devices of the enemy, by sending a seasonable trial to His dear children, which rouses them, and makes them flee to Him for safety. I have often thought if David had fallen and broke his leg when he was going up to the housetop he would have missed the sight of Bathsheba, and that long train of evils, which made him cry out of broken bones in a still more painful sense. We know how things are with us now, but we know not how they might have been by this time, if such or such a painful dispensation had not happened…

Another way in which afflictions work for good is, that they put us in a situation for the more observable exercise and manifestation of our graces and thereby afford us fairer opportunity for glorifying God. You know as well as I do, that the glory of God should be our highest aim, and in our better moments, it is so. The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray, that we may live to His glory, and He often answers this prayer by sending us trials. His wisdom, faithfulness and power, in supporting and delivering are more clearly seen in a time of suffering. And the graces of faith, patience, and submission, are more evident then, than they would be if we were always at ease. The case of Job is recorded for our instruction in this view. He received personal benefit by his heavy troubles and came out of the furnace purified like gold. But his great honour was, that by his sufferings he was made of eminent use to the church of God; and believers in all ages, have been and will be edified and comforted by what they read of the Lord's dealings with him. And though we are not called upon to appear (as he was) as public examples yet within the circle of our own connections, if the Lord enables us to suffer as Christians, others will be encouraged and excited to trust and praise the Lord, when they see what He is pleased to do for us. In this sense, Christians in private life suffer for His sake. He will have it known that His grace is all-sufficient, that He is a present help in time of trouble, that His promises are sure, and that He can carry His children safely through fire and water. And for this purpose, He calls out (when, and as He pleases) some of those whom He most loves, to endure hardships so that both friends and enemies may see that His grace bestowed upon them was not in vain. How else should the power of precious faith be known if it was not tried? It is an honour to serve God by doing His will; but in outward services there is something pleasing to self. But it is a much greater honour to serve Him by suffering His will – here self has less concern, and our obedience is more simple and unselfish. May we be of the Apostle's mind, and glory in tribulation, if, by anything we can suffer and endure that the power of Christ may be manifested and honoured. He is a good master to serve – I have found him so for thirty years. He can, and He will make us rich amends. He well deserves our patient submission to trials, when we consider what He has endured for us. Cheer up, dear Madam, the Lord does all things well! Do not be afraid of storms, for you have an infallible Pilot who will guide you with His eye, uphold you with His arm, and every minute is bringing you nearer to the harbour of eternal rest and peace!

We have just begun harvest in these parts. The corn has passed through a variety of weather; but frosts and winds, rains and heat, each of which, singly, would have destroyed it have each in their places (through the blessing of the Lord's overruling providence) concurred to bring it to its present maturity. The farmers here, as well as elsewhere have had different fears and complaints at different times. They have thought sometimes the weather to be too cold or too hot, too wet or too dry, by turns. But their fears were groundless and vain – the crop is ripe, the stalks are loaded, and bend under the weight of the grain. Is not this an emblem of the spiritual life? What changes of weather have we passed through, since the seeds of grace were first sown in our hearts? How often have we been ready to murmur at the appointments of the Heavenly Gardener! How hardly could we be persuaded that the afflictions, temptations, trials, and desertions we have been exercised with have, in their places, been no less subservient to our growth, than the more pleasing sunshine we have been sometimes favoured with? Yet, I trust, we are still growing and getting forward – neither frost nor floods have been able to destroy us! Oh, Madam, (may our hearts rejoice at the thought!) the harvest is approaching! And when He sees that we are fully ripe, when all that He has designed to do for us, in us, and by us, is completed, He will separate us from these clods of earth, and remove us into His garner, where we shall be done with fears and changes forever.

We shall not then live this poor dying life neither shall we have to complain of an evil heart of unbelief! We shall not mourn an absent God; or complain of a cold and careless heart; or feel a law in our members warring against the law of our minds. For then we shall be at the fountain-head of all our best wishes and desires and enjoying, through eternal ages, that ineffable bliss which is prepared for all who love God, and who have been called by divine grace out of the service of sin, Satan, and the world, to love and serve Him who is the Rock of eternal ages. Yes, my dear Madam, we shall, with unspeakable delight see Jesus as He is, and be completely like Him! Let us, then, not be weary in well doing for, in due season, we shall reap, if we fail not.

I am, my dear Madam,

Your obliged and affectionate Servant,

John Newton.[45]

BIBLE QUIZ

QUESTIONS FROM THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS

1.   Where was the blood of the peace offering to be sprinkled?

2.   What is the fifth of the five offerings?

3.   What did Moses pour on Aaron’s head?

4.   What was put on the horns of the altar?

5.   What were names of the men who offered strange fire?

6.   Was ancient Israel permitted to eat bats?

7.   On what day was a baby boy to be circumcised?

 

ANSWERS FOR LAST WEEK’S QUIZ

  1. Six (Exodus 16:26)
  2. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8)
  3. Forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:18)
  4. Shittim (Exodus 25:10)
  5. Golden earrings (Exodus 32:2-4)
  6. HOLINESS TO THE LORD (Exodus 28:36; 39:30)
  7. Because the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:35)

 

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

(1st Peter 1:15-16)



[1] Colossians 3:3
[2] John 3:8
[3] 2nd Corinthians 5:17
[4] 1st Peter 1:3
[5] Ephesians 2:4-5
[6] Acts 9:11
[7] 1st Peter 2:2
[8] 2nd Thessalonians 1:3
[9] Proverbs 4:2; 1st Timothy 4:6
[10] 1st Timothy 1:10; 2nd Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1
[11] Titus 2:10
[12] Acts 13:12
[13] Titus 2:10
[14] Hebrews 6:1; 2nd John 1:9
[15] Acts 2:42
[16] 1st Timothy 6:3
[17] Romans 9:1; 1st Timothy 2:7
[18] Ephesians 4:21
[19] Romans 1:25; 3:7; 15:8
[20] Psalm 118:43; 2nd Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 1:13;
2nd Timothy 2:15; James 1:18
[21] 2nd Timothy 1:13
[22] Titus 2:8
[23] Hebrews 13:9
[24] Colossians 2:22
[25] Colossians 2:8
[26] 1st Timothy 4:1
[27] Mark 7:8; Colossians 2:8
[28] 2nd Peter 2:1
[29] 1st Thessalonians 5:21
[30] 1st John 4:1
[31] Matthew 16:12
[32] Revelation 2:14
[33] Revelation 2:15
[34] John 7:16
[35] 1st Peter 1:21
[36] 2nd Thessalonians 2:10
[37] John 3:18
[38] John 8:24
[39] John 17:17
[40] 1st Timothy 4:7
[41] Galatians 1:18
[42] Proverbs 23:23
[43] Plumer, W.S.     The Christian         1878
[44] Watts, I.         I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord   1707
[45] Newton, J.       Six Letters on Afflictions


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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