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...."


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


" 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..."


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."


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)



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..."


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



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...."


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. 


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.


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.


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