Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tales of the Visit of a Reformed Pastor to Limerick: Part I

We had a great time with Rev. Stewart and his wife recently. They were here in Limerick for two weeks and three Lord's Day services. If I were to tell everything we did, it would probably take a book, so I'll constrain myself to highlights.

The first thing I should note is that they brought with them copies of Prof. Engelsma's recent pamphlet on the gift of assurance. It is an excellent work, and one that needs broadcasted loud and clear. This area of pneumatology is one without which the Good News is entirely obscured. It's the central reason that the Reformation had to happen - it's the only reason we are not left as orphans - without it we have no earnest of our salvation and we would be of all men most miserable.

"The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light: they that dwell in the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." - Isa. 9:2.

Manuel and I were listening to one of the CDs from the BRF conference about the Holy Spirit, to a lecture that demonstrated the huge significance of the "filioque" in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Wow.

"But ye have an unction from the Holy One [Christ], and ye know all things... But the anointing which ye have received of Him [Christ] abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it [He] hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." - I John 2:20, 27.

So, the first Lord's Day we heard two excellent sermons, one on Romans 11:1-5 about God's purposes with Israel in the NT age, and one on Stephen the Apologist (Acts 7). On that day as well as the others we heard the voice of Jesus Christ through in faithful and biblical preaching - and I can speak for everyone, by God's grace, when I say that we did not receive it as the words of a man, but as it truly was, the word of God.

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." - I Thess. 2:13.

Of course, the reason we thank only God for this miracle, not only of the true preaching, but also the true receiving of it, is that it is entirely the mysterious work of His Spirit of truth which gives us the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16).

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." - I Cor. 2:12-14.

I think that is one of clearest passages teaching sovereign grace. This is very humbling and makes me very thankful to God that He has not given to us a spirit of stupor like others; this was explained in the morning sermon on Romans 11:7-8 on the last day Rev. Stewart was with us.

More soon...

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