Thursday, February 25, 2010
I found and listened to a few more biographical messages and resources on the life of Adnoniram Judson this week.
John Piper gives his take on Judson with his typical exuberance and passion.
Richard Belcher, author of the "Journey" books, gives an interesting account of the life of Judson in word and song.
Historian Tom Nettles also presents a sketch of Judson as a pioneer missionary.
In addition, you can listen to a reading of Judson's "Advice to Missionary Candidates" in which he reminds a prospective missionary that most who came to the East would die within five years of arrival.
Monday, February 22, 2010
In the afternoon service at CRBC yesterday I gave a biographical message on the life of missionary pioneer Adoniram Judson.
One of the quotes I offered came from January 31, 1834 when Judson--at the age of 46-- finally completed his translation of the entire Bible in Burmese:
Thanks be to God, I can now say I have attained. I have knelt before him, with the last leaf in my hand, and imploring his forgiveness for all the sins which have polluted my efforts in this department, and his aid in future efforts to remove errors and imperfections which necessarily cleave to the work, I have commended it to his mercy and grace; I have dedicated it to his glory. May he make his own inspired word, now complete in the Burman tongue, the grand instrument of filling all Burma with songs of praise to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ Amen (To the Golden Shore, p. 411).
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The teaching of the Reformed confessions suggests a simple test for distinguishing between genuine and counterfeit joy in worship: Is it accompanied by reverence or not? Are we boasting in our Savior or are we boasting in ourselves? Are we looking to Christ for access to God, or are we feeling good about our own merits? We overcome our fear only through the death and resurrection of Christ. We are spared death and judgment only because Christ willingly submitted to both. How dare we observe Christ’s work in any superficial or indifferent or irreverent manner! If we do, we are surely prone to relocate the source of our confidence. If we overcome our fear through any other means than the blood of Christ, we are dangerously close to committing blasphemy.
From D. G. Hart and John R. Muether, With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship (P & R, 2002): p. 127.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Jeremiah Bell Jeter (1802-1880) was a Virginia Baptist pastor, theologian, editor, and denominational statesman. He was a "gentleman controversialist." His sermon "The Obligations of Baptist to their Distinctive Principles" was delivered at the 54th annual meeting of the Baptist General Association in 1877. At the twilight of his ministry career, Jeter exhorts his Baptist brethren to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
Monday, February 15, 2010
"Confessing Christ" from Matthew 10:24-33. I love Matthew Henry's comments on v. 26 ("Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known"):
Note: It is a matter of comfort to the people of God, under all the calumnies and censures of men, that there will be a resurrection of names as well as bodies, at the last day, when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun. Let Christ’s ministers faithfully reveal his truths, and then leave it to him, in due time, to reveal their integrity.
My recent article "Worship Local" has been posted on the Reformation Baptist Fellowship blog. You can read my post here.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Are you suffering from particular trials and temptations? Does it seem that God has given you, as he did to Paul, a “thorn in the flesh” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7)?
Here is a summary from Thomas Watson’s book, All Things for Good, in which the Puritan pastor outlines eight ways that God overrules temptations for good in our lives:
1. Temptation sends us to God in prayer. “The more furiously Satan tempts, the more fervently the saint prays.”
2. God may actually use the temptation to sin to keep the believer from the commission of sin. “The more a child of God is tempted, the more he fights against the temptation…. That temptation which the devil uses as a spur to sin, God makes a bridle to keep back a Christian from it.”
3. Temptation abates the swelling of pride. “Better is that temptation which humbles me, than the duty which makes me proud.”
4. Temptation tries what is really in our hearts. “Temptation is a trial of our sincerity.”
5. God uses our experience of temptation to make us better fit to comfort others when they face similar distress. “A Christian must himself be under the buffetings of Satan, before he can speak a word in due season to him that is weary.”
6. Temptation stirs up God the Father’s compassion for us. “The child who is sick and bruised is most looked after.”
7. Temptation makes the saint long more for heaven. “There they shall be out of gunshot. Heaven is a place of rest, no bullets of temptation fly there.”
8. Temptation engages the strength of Christ on our behalf. “Christ is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us.”
Watson concludes: “Thus the evil of temptation is overruled for good.”
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Sunday before last I preached on Matthew 10:16-23. The Geneva Bible has some great comments on vv. 16-17:
On 10:16 (“Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves…”), the notes begin: “Christ showeth how the ministers must behave themselves under the cross.”
Also on the call in 10:16 that the disciples are to be “wise as serpents, and innocent as doves,” the notes read: “You shall not so much as revenge an injury: and by mixing these beasts’ natures together, he will not have our wisdom to be malicious, nor our simplicity mad, but a certain form of good nature as exquisitely framed of both of them, as may be.”
Then, on the caution, “But beware of men…” (v. 17), the note reads: “For in the cause of religion men are wolves one to another.”
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
My friend Pastor Beine He of the Chinese Christian Church of Charlottesville had a feature article titled "After suffering as a Christian in China ... I became a U. S. citizen," in the Sunday edition (1/31/10) of Charlottesville's Daily Progress.
Beine became a U.S. citizen on January 22nd. Though I had heard his testimony before, reading this article was a reminder of the privileges of religious freedoms we enjoy in the US. It also gave me new admiration for this humble, faithful pastor. I am glad to have Beine and his family among my friends and colleagues in ministry.