Friday, December 22, 2023

The Vision (12.22.23): Seven Applications from God's Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:1-17)

 


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 9:1-17.

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1).

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man (Genesis 9:6).

And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you (Genesis 9:8-9).

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth (Genesis 9:13).

Genesis 9:1-17 describes God’s blessing and commissioning of Noah and his sons after the flood, as well as God’s establishment of his covenant with them, including the “token” of the bow in the clouds.

What practical instructions do we take from this account? Here are seven:

First, the preservation of Noah’s family and the establishment of this covenant is a reminder that God was not finished with fallen men. He was working out his plan of salvation (see Genesis 3:15).

Second, God gave even to fallen mankind, after the flood, a renewed dominion mandate (Genesis 9:1, 7; cf. Genesis 1:27-28). It is good for men to marry and to have children and to be wise and faithful and compassionate stewards of the world and all its inhabitants. 

Third, God values the life of human beings above all other creatures. We are made in his image. Though that image has been tarnished by the fall, it has not been obliterated (see Genesis 9:6). What is more, the life of man is protected by God (Genesis 9:5). We should not, therefore, unjustly take the life of our brother. This means God abhors murder, and abortion, and infanticide, and euthanasia.

Fourth, capital punishment is a Biblically justified punishment for those who unjustly shed man’s blood as long as it is lawfully administered by the civil magistrate who does not bear the sword in vain (Genesis 9:6; cf. Romans 13:1-4).

Fifth, God will never again destroy the world by flood or by any other means before the final end of all things at the coming of Christ (Genesis 9:11; cf. 2 Peter 3:10). So, we need not fear any doomsday messages from climate alarmists or internet conspiracy theorists. God had made a covenant commitment to us. And every time we see a rainbow in the clouds, we can remember that covenant.

Sixth, just as God gave an outward token of his covenant with Noah, so he continues to give outward signs of spiritual realties. Baptism is one such sign and the Lord’s Supper another.

Seventh, we are reminded that after the flood, God brought about a renewed creation. We might draw a parallel to salvation. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul said that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”

In our unregenerate state, we believers were in ruins, but God saw fit to salvage us, and he made each of us a new creature in Christ, and he is continuing, by sanctification, to make us what we ought to be.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 15: Reasons inducing us not to stand curiously upon an identity of phrasing

 


Last installment in this series: Translators to Reader.Part 15.

"Another thing we think good to admonish thee of, gentle Reader, that we have not tied ourselves to a uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words...."

JTR

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 14: Reasons moving us to set diversity of senses in the margin, where there is great probability for each

 


"...it hath pleased God to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation... but in matters of less moment..."

JTR

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 13: The purpose of the Translators, with their number, furniture, care, etc.

 


Here we find the famous statement that they saw no need to make a completely new translation, but "to make a good one better, or out of many good ones one principal good one."

JTR

Friday, December 15, 2023

The Vision (12.15.23): And God remembered Noah

 


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 8.

“And God remembered Noah….” (Genesis 8:1).

“And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD….” (Genesis 8:20).

Genesis 8 describes how the LORD both maintained Noah and those in the ark throughout the flood (vv. 1-14) and directed him after the flood (vv. 15-22).

The ark might well have served as Noah’s coffin (a large, three-story coffin, made of gopher wood!), but instead God made it his life-boat.

This chapter speaks to the preserving grace of God, beginning with the statement, “And God remembered Noah….” (v. 1). God did not leave Noah alone in the midst of the flood and its aftermath.

Near the end of the chapter, we have another statement of spiritual significance, noting the first recorded action of Noah when he departed from the ark, “And Noah builded an altar to the LORD….” (v. 20).

Noah did not first build a shelter, a business, a statehouse, a school, a hospital, or a library. But he first built an altar, a church, a chapel where he worshipped the God who had miraculously saved him.

Noah’s response to his salvation was indeed worship. That altar was a place of sacrifice. Every sacrifice in the Old Testament is a type of the once for all sacrifice that Christ will offer on the cross. That sacrifice was a sweet-smelling savor before the Father (v. 21).

God remembered Noah, and, we might say, that Noah remembered the LORD in worship. This is why we come to worship. All true worship is gratitude. He remembered us, and we remember him.

What did Christ say when he instituted the Lord’s Supper? “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Let us then be worshippers of our God in spirit and in truth, offering to him the sacrifice of praise. Let us remember him, because he first remembered us.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Scenes from CRBC Leaf Raking & Church Cleanup Fellowship (12.9.23)

 
















JTR























Thursday, December 14, 2023

Audio: The Translators to the Reader: An answer to the imputations of our adversaries

 


"...the very meanest translation of the Bible in English... containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God..."

JTR

Friday, December 08, 2023

The Vision (12.8.23): Lessons from the Flood (Genesis 7)

 


Image: Edward Hicks, Noah's Ark (1846), Philadelphia Museum of Art

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 7.

“And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood” (Genesis 7:7).

“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in” (Genesis 7:16).

There are many spiritual lessons we might draw from our text (Genesis 7); here are but a few:

First: Sin has consequences. Eventually our sin will find us out.

Second: God is just and right to punish sinners with death and destruction.

Third: God does exactly what he promises. He had promised Noah he would destroy the world with a flood in Genesis 6:17, and in Genesis 7 his word was fulfilled. God keeps his word.

Christ promised to honor to those who honor him and to put to shame those who deny him (cf. Matthew 10:32-33). Do you think he will keep his word?

Fourth: We see here the importance of obedience, modeled again by Noah (Genesis 7:5 “And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.” Cf. Genesis 6:22). We may suppose his obedience was prompt, full, and cheerful.

Fifth: We also see here our Lord’s great patience and longsuffering.

He gave men one hundred and twenty years to repent (see Genesis 6:3b). Once set on bringing the flood, he gave yet seven days more, as Noah made his preparations to enter the ark (Genesis 7:4, 10).

Noah is called by Peter in 2 Peter 2:5 “a preacher of righteousness.” Some have wondered if Noah might yet have preached in those last seven days. How hardened men must have scoffed or turned away in indifference to his sermons!

Sixth: We learn finally, with fear and trembling, that there are times when the door is closed, when the extended hand is returned, when the longsuffering is ended, and judgement comes.

There came a time when the door of the ark was shut (v. 16b: “and the LORD shut him in”). In shutting Noah in, the LORD was shutting others out.

In Matthew 25 Christ told a parable of wise and foolish virgins who awaited the bridegroom. Five wise virgins were ready, but five foolish ones were not, and the latter missed his coming. When they went to the wedding hall, we read, “and the door was shut” (v. 10). They cried, “Lord, Lord, open to us” (v. 11), but the answer came back, “I know you not” (v. 12).

Dear friends, last sermons are heard, last invitations are extended, last calls are made. The door is open now, but it will soon be shut when we breathe our last in the flood of death, or when Christ comes in glory.

Will we not enter that ark of faith in Christ before the end should come upon us?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Monday, December 04, 2023

Book Review: John P. Thackway, Ed., Valiant for the Truth: The collected writings of Bishop D. A. Thompson

 



JTR

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 9: The unwillingness of our chief adversaries that the Scriptures should be divulged in the mother tongue, etc.

 


Part 9 attacks the Roman church's opposition to vernacular Bible translations:

"So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture... that they will not trust the people with it...."

JTR

Coming in 2024: New Edition of Gospel Church Government



Grace Publications Trust will be releasing  a new edition of my book Gospel Church Government in 2024 in the series "Grace Essentials." The first edition was published in 2012 but has been out of print for several years.

This book is a simplification and abridgement of John Owen's classic work on ecclesiology, titled The True Nature of a Gospel Church and Its Government found in Vol. 16 of his Collected Works.

Since it went out of print, I have occasionally heard from folk seeing to find it, so I am glad it will be available once again. 

JTR

Saturday, December 02, 2023

JIRBS 2023 Article: Retrieving the Bibliology of John Owen

 


The 2023 Journal of International Reformed Baptist Seminary (JIRBS) has been released. I contributed an article titled, "Retrieving the Bibliology of John Owen" (pp. 19-55).

The journal is published and distributed by Broken Wharfe and can be purchased at their website or here on amazon.




JTR



Which makes your life better?

From my Twitter/X @Riddle1689:


Yesterday, for some reason, I started humming a hymn I had sung in my church in Hungary c. 30 years ago. I got down my Hungarian hymnal, A Hit Hangjai ("The Sounds of Faith"), from the shelf to look up the hymn.

Inside the front cover of my Hungarian hymnal I found a few photos I had taken maybe c. 1991 or 1992. I think these were taken in the marketplace near my apartment in Pesterzs├ębet.



Another photo was this Ikea ad (on the left side of this billboard) in Budapest, again c. 1991, ubiquitous at the time. The Swedish home goods store, new to post-communist Hungary, offered a choice. On the left is Marx's Das Kapital. On the right the Ikea catalogue. The caption, "Which makes your life better?"


I used that ad in several sermons at the time, suggesting there needed to be another book added to the picture, the Bible. And then the same question needed to be posed: Which makes your life better? Not a book of politics, nor a book of materialism, but the book of God.

JTR






Friday, December 01, 2023

The Vision (12.1.23): Noah was a just man

 

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 6:9-22.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).

In Genesis 6:9 there are three descriptions of Noah, the man who “found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8):

First, “Noah was a just (or righteous) man.”

He was a godly man in an ungodly generation. This will be a hallmark description of Noah. Twice in the book of the prophet Ezekiel Noah is listed alongside Daniel and Job as men outstanding for their righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14, 20).

Paul, in the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11 will write, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (v. 7).

How indeed is one made righteous or justified in God’s sight? It is by faith. As the apostle Paul will put it in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It will later be said of Abraham that he believed in the LORD and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). And yet even before Abraham there was Noah. Not only is he described in Scripture as being a just man, but he is also described by Peter as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5).

Second, Noah was “perfect in his generations.” This did not mean morally perfect or sinless, because all mankind after Adam born by ordinary generation has inherited a sin nature from him and committed actual transgressions. The KJV offers an alternative translation for the word “perfect” as “upright.” What this tells us is that though Noah had remaining corruption within, he was yet the most upright man of his generation.

Third, “Noah walked with God." This recalls the description of godly Enoch (Genesis 5:24). Noah enjoyed a level of deep communion and fellowship with his Creator. He was a spiritually minded man, a man who was not a spiritual hypocrite, but one who intimately knew the LORD.

It was this man whom the LORD set apart to build the ark, to save a remnant, to accomplish a life-preserving mission, “to keep them alive” (Genesis 6:20).

Noah was the greatest man of his day, but he was still a fallen man.

In the fullness of time, there came one greater than Noah, the Lord Jesus Christ. When he died on the cross Luke tells us there was a centurion there who when he “saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47).

The apostle Paul said God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that “we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The apostle Peter said that he “once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

This one who is greater than Noah has raised up an ark in our day that saves men  not only from temporary destruction but from eternal destruction, and you enter into this ark, which is Christ himself, only by faith in him.

So, let us believe, and let us be saved.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Monday, November 27, 2023

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 6: The Translation of the Old Testament out of Hebrew into Greek

 


In section 6 of the KJV Preface, a robust Protestant view of Greek translations of the OT, including the LXX, is set forward. It provides much needed clarification for our day.

JTR

Friday, November 24, 2023

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 4: The praise of the Holy Scriptures

 


JTR

Note: Great insights in this section into Protestant Bibliology.

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 2: The highest personages have been calumniated

 


JTR

Note: Parts One and Three are posted here. I forgot to post this episode to the blog when it was first recorded.

The Vision (11.24.23): But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD

 


Image: Noah icon, sixteenth century, Mt. Athos, Greece.

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 6:1-8.

Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

In light of the fact that “the wickedness of man was great” (Genesis 6:5), the LORD made a solemn declaration of his intent utterly to destroy “man whom I have created” (v. 7a). Note that this destruction would entail “both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air” (v. 7b). All creation must pay the price for man’s sin! Again, we hear that God “repented” (cf. v. 6), meaning that he was grieved, disturbed at the mess fallen humanity had made of the world he once looked upon and declared to be very good (Genesis 1:31).

Imagine if you took the time to build something or prepare something of great value. And then one rogue actor came in and, in a few moments, destroyed all that you had so carefully made. It is so much easier to destroy than it is to create and build!

What a terrible state things were in! God would have been completely justified to do just as he here declared.

The breaking light comes, however, in v. 8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” This is one of the great “adversative conjunctions” statements in the Bible. Think of 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Or, of Ephesians 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy….”

Notice it says that Noah found grace. It does not say that Noah earned grace, or that he deserved grace, or that he won grace, or that he merited grace. No, he found it, which means he was given it by God. God’s response to man’s sin was grace!

God’s promise of the gospel in Genesis 3:15 would not fail.

We are reminded here of how God works. When he came to us and looked upon us and saw our sinful state, he might well have snuffed us out, as he might have the whole world in the days of Noah. And yet he gave grace.

The story is told of a mother of many children who had one of them sneak off and get into an oil barrel. When she found the wayward child, after much searching, he was covered head to toe in black goo. She exclaimed, “Lord, it’d just about be easier to have another one than it would be to clean you up!”

The Lord did not give us over to what we deserved. He saved us, and he is cleaning us up. We found grace in his eyes through Christ.

All praise, glory, and honor be to him.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Vision (11.17.23): And Enoch walked with God

 


Image: Elijah and Enoch, 17th century icon, Historic Museum, Sanok, Poland


Note: Devotion is taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 5.

"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

Genesis 5 presents us with “the book of the generations of Adam” through the line of Seth (v. 1).

One name that stands out is Enoch the seventh in this line (cf. Jude 1:14-15). The name Enoch means “dedication” or “consecration.” This was also the name of Cain’s son, after whom he named the city he had built (4:17).

The distinctive thing about Enoch is first noted in v. 22: “And Enoch walked with God.” He did not just live, but he walked with God. He had not only natural life, but also spiritual life.

The language of walking with God is figurative for one who shares in an intimate communion with God. Enoch was a peculiarly godly man, a spiritual giant among the men of his times.

Matthew Henry explains that “to walk with God” means, “to set Him before us, and to act as if we were always under His eye… It is to make God’s word our rule and His glory our end in all our actions. It is to make it our constant care and endeavor in everything to please God, and in nothing to offend him.”

Matthew Poole said of Enoch: "He lived as one whose eye was continually upon God; whose care and constant course and business it was to please God, and to imitate him, and to maintain acquaintance and communion with him; as one devoted to God's service and wholly governed by his will. He walked not with men of that wicked age, or as they walked, but being a prophet and preacher…. with great zeal and courage he protected and preached against their evil practices, and boldly owned God and his ways in the midst of them.”

The description of every other man in the line of Adam ends with the statement, “and he died,” but it does not say this of Enoch. Instead, we read in v. 24: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

The meaning of what happened to Enoch is explained in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Enoch was, thus, one of the two men who are mentioned in the OT who did not taste death but were taken by God before experiencing its pain and terror. The other was the prophet Elijah (see 2 Kings 11:11-12). The theologians call this experience an apotheosis.

This account gives hope to all of us, who, like Enoch, have remaining corruptions within us, that we may still seek holiness of life and communion with God as did righteous Enoch.

As Paul exhorted believers in Colossians 2:6, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

So, let us join ourselves to Christ and walk in him.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Audio: The Translators to the Reader.Part 1: The best things have been calumniated

 


My audio series reading through the preface to the AV (1611) continues.

JTR

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Audio: The Epistle Dedicatory to the King James Version

 


I have started a new audio series that I will be posting to sermonaudio of reading through the prefatory material to the KJV. Here is "The Epistle Dedicatory." Next, I hope to read through the fifteen sections in the preface, "The Translators to the Reader."

JTR

Friday, November 10, 2023

The Vision (11.10.23): The Line of Cain or the Line of Seth?

 


Image: Lamech, Mosaic, 12th-13th century, Monreale, Sicily.

Note: Devotional based on last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 4:16-26.

And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch (Genesis 4:17).

And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call on the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26).

In Genesis 4, two distinct lines are traced. One is the line of Cain (vv. 16-24), who was “of that wicked one” (1 John 3:12), and the other is the line of Seth (vv. 25-26).

We are left to ponder: Are we part of the line of Cain or the line of Seth? Do we take the broad way to destruction or the narrow way to life (Matthew 7:13-14)?

Will we build our city (our empire), as did Cain (v. 17) trying to make a name or leave a legacy for ourselves?

Will we lead a life with only secular strivings, as did those in Cain’s line, even if we do become skilled at amassing cattle, making music, or becoming a skilled artisan (vv. 19-22), but doing it all apart from any relationship with Christ?

Will we only be able to give our children a material inheritance when we leave this earth, or will we leave them something more?

Will we cast aside the original good design of God, as Cain’s descendent Lamech did when he took two wives (v. 19; contra Genesis 2:24)?

Will we live to have men fear us, as did Lamech (v. 24), vowing to pay back any slight with seventy-seven times the force, breathing out threats, and boasting, living by the creed, “Mess with the best and get burned like the rest”?

Or will we go the way of Seth and be weak and humble before the LORD, asking him to remember that we are but dust.

Will we call upon the name of the LORD (v. 26), seeing the worship of God as the true end of man, and will we pass this truth on to our children and grandchildren?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Friday, November 03, 2023

The Vision (11.3.23): What hast thou done?

 


Note: Devotional based on last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 4:1-15.

And [the LORD] said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground (Genesis 4:10).

We see the same pattern here as in Genesis 3. Just as God came and walked in the cool of the day and found out Adam’s sin, so he comes and finds out Cain’s sin.

We can run from God, but we cannot hide. As Moses said to the Israelites in Numbers 32:23, “and be sure your sin will find you out.”

To Adam God said, “Where art thou?” (3:9). To Cain he says, “Where is Abel thy brother?” (4:9).

If Genesis 3 shows the breaking of the first table of the law (man’s duty to God), Genesis 4 shows the breaking of the second table of the law (man’s duty to his fellow man). We are all, in truth, guilty of trespassing both!

Cain famously replies, trying to hide his sin, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9b). John Currid writes:

This is a figure of speech used here to emphasize a sense of indignant refusal. What a bold, defiant, and rebellious response! Instead of fearing God, Cain questions him. The irony is that the true answer is positive: one is indeed to keep one’s brother (Genesis, Vol. 1, 147).

This same commentator notes that seven times in this passage, Abel is referred to as “brother” (vv. 2, 8, 9, 10, 11), but the term is never used of Cain (147).

The LORD then confronts Cain with another question in v. 10a: “What hast thou done?” This is similar to God’s question of Eve in Genesis 3:13, “What is it thou hast done?” Is God ignorant of what has happened? Of course not. He does not ask to furnish his own knowledge but to prick the conscience of the transgressor.

 This is the question of a righteous God to sinful man, “What hast thou done?” He continues to ask this question of each of us, pushing us to the end of ourselves so that we might find refuge in Christ alone.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle