Text Box: Published monthly by
PILGRIMíS BIBLE CHURCH
Timothy Fellows Pastor
VOL. XI No. 4
JUNE, 1984

Featured Articles

The Miracle of the Incarnation

For This Cause Pay Ye Tribute

Cheap Religion

Calvin on Abortion

THE MIRACLE OF THE INCARNATION

Behold here a sacred riddle or paradox: "God manifest in the flesh." That man should be made in Godís image was a wonder, but that God should be made in manís image is a greater wonder. That the Ancient of Days should be born; that He who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; that He who rules the stars should suck the breast; that a virgin should conceive; that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which Himself made; that the branch should bear the vine; the mother should be younger than the child she bare, and the child in the womb bigger than the mother; that the human should not be God, yet one with God; this was not only mirum but miraculum (i.e. not only wonderful but a miracle). Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to Heaven when our light shall be clear, as well as our love perfect.

From hence, "God manifest in the flesh," Christ born of a virgin, a thing not only strange in nature but impossible. Learn that there are no impossibilities with God. God can bring about things which are not within the sphere of nature to produce; as that iron should swim, that the rock should gush out water, and that the fire should lick up the water in the trenches (I Kings 18:38). It is natural for water to quench fire, but for fire to consume water is impossible in the course of nature; but God can bring about all this. "There is nothing too hard for Thee." "If it be marvellous in your eyes, should it be marvellous in My eyes? saith the Lord.

"How should God be united to our flesh? It is impossible to us, but not with God; He can do what transcends reason, and exceeds faith. He would not be our God if He could not do more than we can think.

...That God who brought Isaac out of a dead womb, and the Messiah out of a virginís womb, what cannot He do? 0 let us rest upon the arm of Godís power, and believe in Him, in the midst of seeming impossibilities! Remember there are no Impossibilities with God. He can subdue a proud heart. He can revive a dying church. Christ born of a virgin! The wonder-working God that wrought this can bring to pass the greatest seeming impossibility.

-Thomas Watson-

 

THE MARRIAGE RING by John Angell James IS HERE!

"It is an unquestionable truth, that if a man be not happy at home, he cannot be happy anywhere; and he who is happy there need be miserable nowhere."

"It is obvious that no decision of our whole earthly existence requires more of the exercise of a calm judgment than this: and yet observation proves how rarely the judgment is allowed to give counsel, and how generally the imagination and the passions settle the business."

"In the ardor of passion, few are disposed to listen to the counsels of prudence; and perhaps there is no advice, generally speaking, more thrown away, than that which is offered on the subject of marriage.... Upon such individuals, reasoning is wasted, and they must be left to gain wisdom in the only way some will acquire it --painful experience."

Excellent as a young peopleís study.

A must for the conscientious counselor

Send $2.50. Postage will be paid.

 

"FOR THIS CAUSE PAY YE TRIBUTE":

Observations from Romans 13: l-7

Magistrates, like everyone else, have the responsibility of subjecting themselves to the "higher powers." Since God is the Author of all authority and the sole Lawgiver (James 4:12) every soul is responsible to acknowledge His authority by rendering cheerful obedience. "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers." This is the will of God. It was just such willing subjection to Godís authority that made paradise Of Eden, and that makes paradise in Heaven.

Since "there is no power, or authority, but of God," and "the powers that be are ordained of God" every soul is obligated to subject himself to Godís government so long as he is a part of Godís creation. All breathe the air He has provided and all live because of His gift of life that flows through their veins.

Since God is the Author of authority, all who resist God- appointed authority fight with God, "and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." "They that do such things (i.e. cause sedition) shall not inherit the kingdoms of God." (See: Galatians 5:19-21)

It was the good pleasure of God to identify the kind of authority He has appointed: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil." Tyrants therefore have no legitimate authority. Their rule is a mockery of the kindly rule of God. Calvin states "...Dictatorships and unjust authorities are not ordained governments."1 "They are not to rule on their own account, but for the public good. Nor do they have unbridled power, but power that is restricted to the welfare of their Subjects. In short, they are responsible to God and to men in the exercise of their rule."2 God may chastise nations by raising up tyrants to rule over them as in the time of Israelís judges, but when His people humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from Heaven, He will forgive their sins, and He will heal their land.

God-ordained rulers are a terror to evil-doers, and are a glory to the good. For this reason Godly people revere their authority, and yield lawful obedience, but is it lawful to yield obedience to lawless rulers, and to obey those laws that disregard the mandates of Heaven? Since there is but one Lawgiver, it is not possible for lawful legislation to contradict the Law of God. Is it in accordance with the Law of God, and consistent with His will for us to obey the laws of men when they are contrary to the Law of God? Peter addressed this issue twice in the book of Acts. In Acts 4:19, he and John curtly said, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye." And again in chapter 5, verse 29, Peter and the other apostles answered and said, "We ought to obey God rather than men."

Under our form of government, taxes are paid on a voluntary basis. Therefore if we know that when our tax money should be used for the public good, government-funded bureaucrats will use it to finance the murder of children, what kind of monsters are we if we comply? Such people as they are have made a covenant with death, and are in league with Hell, (Isaiah 28:15) How long can true saints flaunt the Law of God? Will we not cry out in guilt with Lady Macbeth, "Out, out damn spot!" What betrayal of the next generation! What kind of Christians can we be? And, what betrayers of the public trust are they who hunt for the precious life of the innocent to take it away!

Was it the intention of the constitutional convention to establish a socialistic state in which people are encouraged not to work, but rather to have tax advantages if they live together out of wedlock? Was it their design to promote and finance such programs that aim to instill sodomy in our society? If we continue to close our eyes to such naked wickedness, it will be a pity our children have had such parents!

A Christian is a friend to civil government: not its enemy.

Am I a good American and a man of God if I finance those winds which must of necessity bring Godís wrath like a whirlwind upon my country? Calvin states that every man has a duty to render obedience to civil authorities provided Godís Law is not violated, for all legitimate law is subordinate to the Law of God. God retains our supreme allegiance. When civil authorities usurp the rights of God, they are to be denied.3

Chrysostom declared that when civil authorities take what properly belongs to God, namely the definition of Right and Wrong, by commanding what is sinful --to pay such tribute is not being obedient to "Caesar", but is doing the work of the Devil.4

"If Caesar should intrude into the things of God, coin a new creed or broach a new Gospel, and affect to rule the conscience while he rules the state, in these things Caesar is not to be obeyed; he is taking the things of God, and he must not get them. Give not, therefore, Godís things to Caesar." So wrote Adam Clarke.5

Matthew Henry states, "If Caesarís commands interfere with Godís, we must obey God rather than men."6

In his commentary on the New Testament, John Trapp declares we are to be obedient "in things lawful only." He then quotes Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, who, when he was commanded to blaspheme Christ and to swear by the fortune of Caesar, refused saying "We are taught to give honor to princes and potentates, but such honor as is not contrary to Godís religion." 7 Is it contrary to the religion of God to finance murder? And is not sodomy a perversion of the right order of God? Do not the devils in Hell laugh at the pretended piety of Christians who can be made to finance the works they have planned in Hell?

"We ought to obey God rather than man." (Acts 5:29) Matthew Henry shows this is a maxim universally recognized, and points out in Acts 4:19 that it is a rule in the common law of England that if any statute be contrary to the Law of God it is null and void. "Nothing can be more absurd than to hearken unto...men...more than unto God... Can you think it right in the sight of God to break a Divine command in obedience to human injunction? That is right indeed that is right in the sight of God...."9

"Better obey God with whom we must ever live, than men with whom we have but a while to continue", said Antigona in Sophocles. 10

"Should we not obey the commands of princes?" asked Euripides.

"No" he answered, "if they command evil things." 11 Such is a personal, and not an authoritative command."

"I love and embrace you, Athenians," said Socrates, "but yet I will obey God rather than you."12

Three times in Romans 13:4-6, civil authorities are said to be the ministers of God. In verse 4, they are said to be the ministers of God to society for its good. Is it a good thing that the highest court in our land has made public education a godless institution. Is this the reason the Pilgrims, and Baptists, the Lutherans the Presbyterians, etc. came to these shores? Are the judges in our land acting in subjection to the "higher powers" when they persecute the victims of crime sold release stark offenders who will prey upon society? Are civil authorities serving as the ministers of God who encourage open forums to sodomites but who shut the mouths of school teachers and their pupils who would pray publicly and uncensored?

Is it for the good of society to murder unwanted children? -- what about the unwanted elderly? and the unwanted dissenters? Will not such "antiseptic eliminations" invoke the judgment of Him in whom all authority is vested both in Heaven and on earth?

In the same verse, civil authorities are said to be the ministers of God who serve as Godís representatives to revenge evil by executing wrath upon evildoers. As the ministers of God they bear not the sword in vain. Therefore the people of God must be subject, not only for fear, but also for sake of conscience.

"For this cause pay ye tribute" because they are Godís ministers attending continually upon this very thing. What "very thing"? the good of society. This involves revenge upon evildoers. The good of society is the reason God has delegated authority to magistrates. When, therefore, any magistrate refuses to subject himself to the authority of God, and to act in accordance with His Law, he has himself become lawless, and has forfeited the authority God gave him. At such times, we had better obey God rather than man. We are commanded to give to all their dues, but we are not authorized to give unjust exactions.

Since there is no authority but what is given by God, everyone who sets his mandates above the mandates of Heaven is full of hot air, and must not be obeyed.

Brethren pray, lest the fear of man ensnare our souls. "And I say unto you, My friends," said Jesus, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.í But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: ĎFear Him; which after He hath killed hath power to cast into Hell:í I say unto you, "Fear Him!" (Luke 12:4,5)

1 Calvin, John. The Epistles of Paul The Apostle To The Romans And To The Thessalonians. Translated by Ross Mackenzie, edited by David and Thomas Torrance. Copyright 1960 by Oliver and Boyd, London. p. 281.

2 Ibid. p. 282.

3 Calvin, John. Calvinís Commentaries. A Harmony Of The Gospels. Vol. III. Translated by A, W. Morrison, edited by David and Thomas Torrance. Copyright 1972 by St. Andrews Press, Edinburgh. p. 27.

4 Trapp, John, A Commentary Or Exposition Upon All The Books Of The New Testament. Second edition. Copyright 1656 by R. W., London. p. 280.

5 Clarke, Adam. The New Testament Of Our Lord And Saviour, Jesus Christ. Vol. I. Copyright 1856 by Carlton and Philips, New York. p. 213.

6 Henry. Matthew. Matthew Henryís Commentary On The Whole Bible. Vol. V. Fleming Revell, New York. p. 320.

7 Trapp, p. 648.

8 Henry, Vol. VI. p. 64.

9 Ibid., p. 46.

1O Trapp, p. 535.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid., p. 538.

 

CHEAP RELIGION

It should come as no great shock that a generation that savors processed foods and processed culture should also savor processed religion.

Cheap culture is the cause of many "mental" or philosophical disorders within our society. Cheap or hasty affections are the cause of most of our social disorders. It should come as no great shock that a generation like ours, that has been raised on instant mashed potatoes and whipped oleo, that finds beauty in artificial flowers and wax fruit should also relish cheap religion --one that causes them no serious reflections, and makes no demands on them. A society that exists in the "fast lane", that lives on fast foods, fast music, and hasty family relationships finds a "quickie" religion their speed!

The literature, the music and the art of this century is almost totally void of masterpieces. Gold gives the deathblow to culture, and everything today is made to sell. Popularity is the measure of success. The same is true in the realm of religion. But what else is to be expected from a society that finds blobs and globs evidence of genius, and that pays $6.95 for a ten cent novel.

Instead of crying out to God until He sends revival to our land, it is much easier for our plastic generation to manufacture their own by setting up their shingle. Instead of seeking after the power of God, most people use the instant method of using crowd psychology in an altar call. Instead of seeking the humility that God sheds His grace upon, and which is the result of convicting Bible preaching, most people prefer to be entertained with the rhinestone image.

 

CALVIN ON ABORTION

The fetus carried in the motherís womb is already a man; and it is quite unnatural that a life be destroyed of one who has not yet seen its enjoyment.

For, it seems more unworthy that a man be killed in his home rather than in his field because for each man his home is his safest refuge.

How much more abominable ought it to be considered to kill a fetus in the womb who has not been brought into the light?

-John Calvin-

(Quoted from "Calvary Visitor", published by Calvary Bible Church, 3180 West Elm Street, Lima, Ohio, Frank Hamblen, Pastor)

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THOUGHT

Zechariah 4:10ó"Who hath despised the day of small things?"

It is the error of worldly-minded people to measure the importance of things by their size.

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