AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH January 3, 2010
work of the Australian Presbyterian Union (1901),
following the Lord without Compromise
and the Bible without Qualification,
Birth! of a Year
Arrival of a Huddle, Muddle, a Blight in the Night,
Challenge in Christ, and of Rest
THE DAY: Every Year is New Born, for they are Many
Psalm 107 begins with an exhortation to give thanks to God and continues with episodes of challenge and resolution, repeating like a mini-21 gun salute, the request, Oh that men would praise the Lord ford His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of men.
When I was a student at Sydney University, I saw something which relates to this Psalm. Although in general, I found this the worst by far of any secular academic institution at which I was student, for its deadly lack of perspective, yet in one case, there came a wonder of grace where some seeing how I had been mistreated were wonderfully kind and caring. This was especially after we had a long discussion in depth on the fact that when you are born of God, a new life, far more important than any New Year, you no longer seek to please yourself, far less to maximise your satisfaction; for your very criteria are GIVEN, and what you seek is not even FROM YOURSELF, but from God; and it is HIS satisfaction which is crucial
On a window of some beauty in that domain, there was a text of great comfort, and it came from Psalm 107:30:
are they glad because they are quiet;
so He guides them to their desired haven."
Having been ousted by false accusation as I defended the Bible at a Melbourne Seminary, in a way enough to make honest men quail, I was in Sydney, and was in my life as one on a long voyage of deliverance, wherein were many storms, as in Psalm 107:23-28, where the ship's sides heaved and the ocean swell mounted, and often was one crying to the Lord, who never ceased to hear, nor for that matter, to fulfil His word which tells us that we will be delivered WITH PERSECUTIONS, and that it is impossible for a godly person to escape such (Matthew 10:30). IF you give up lands and dear ones and so on, for His sake and the Gospel, Jesus indicated, you would not only receive 100 fold in this life, but do so with PERSECUTIONS.
Neither the deliverance nor the persecutions failed! But what, Paul tells us in II Timothy 3:12, that
"all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
Even in some games, it seems that a broken this and that is not unlikely, and the more so in active wars. How much more than when the devil's territory, as in a spiritual lust, this world becomes (John 14:30), you suffer it if you are unwilling to suffer dishonour to the name of Christ, disgrace to His Church or shame to His word. It seems to ignite a certain devilishness, and this the more certainly, the less ambiguous in word and life you are. Hate ambiguity: NEVER do the work of the Lord deceitfully (Jeremiah 48:10).
Will a soldier be amazed if a bullet hits! Will a gladiator stagger in unbelief, if his hand is cut! Will a Christian seek to minimise his or her contributions for Christ, in utter faithfulness to His word, and be surprised if Satan takes exception, in dead or dying church, or in a morbid world!
Yet there are many with you, though many others seem to hide when the opportunity to praise God arrives, or even to help hide the issues, when crucial wars arise (II Corinthians 10:5), as they must. Read II Corinthians 6:1-10 with 11:23-32, Galatians 2:4 to see Paul's reception of suffering and betrayal outlined!
The storms WILL come; but if we take them to the Lord by faith in His promises (as in II Corinthians 1:20, I Peter 1, Psalm 145:17-19, Mark 11:23-24), then the time comes when they abate, if we still stay on this earth, rather than have an accelerated departure as happened with the redoubtable Stephen (Acts 6-7). Yet with Stephen, notice what marvels were wrought through him by faith, before the end came like a ship berthing. Then a New Era, not just a new year arrived for him, as he sallied to the very direct presence of God, borne of Him. What is born of Him, IS borne! That too is goodness; and as the Psalmist repeats, as in our own episode of today,
"He calms the storm, so that the waves are still, then they are glad because they are quiet."
men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness
and for His wonderful works to the children of men."
In a given year, such events can come. Each one is born once, in a given year, just to be human and then life unrolls. But some, also in a given year, are born twice, certainly to be children of God. You cannot have that Father for your spirit without that adoption (Ephesians 1), which proceeds after acknowledgement of your own non-credentials (Luke 13:1-3), for the thing is by grace (Ephesians 2). When however you are thus in a given year, born a second time, to become a child of God, then you are borne by Him (I Peter 5:7, Ephesians 2:6, I Peter 1), and love believes all things from Him, bears all things through Him, and hopes all things, knowing the destiny from deity Himself (Romans 8:24-39).
Some Persons are NEVER Reborn, Any At Most, ONCE:
These, borne on the Day of Deliverance, Soar in Praise
In the above, at Psalm 107, we omitted two major points. In verse
28, we find in
the midst of the heaving waves, engulfing with water spouts as another Psalm has suggests, we find this:
"Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble
and He brings them out of their distresses."
Distress and crying are correlatives, like brothers in a family.
If you KNOW the Lord, the former leads to the latter, and this not as a mere
routine, as when a doctor swabs a wound and gives antiseptic, but more as a
mother is approached by her child, to seek answer WITH EXPECTATION. It is not
the office of mothers to remove the evil of this world, but to help guard
against it, and with God, power and love being allied, you have a ready listener
and a free agent, whom nothing can bind. That is why you can remove mountains,
watery or otherwise; and they cannot move you
As Paul puts it in II Timothy 4:18:
Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly
To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen!"
This is not the perfervid utterance of a zealot. Does a husband praise a faithful wife for poetic reasons, or because of the experience of the heart ? or a wife a husband ? How much more do those who KNOW the Lord, praise Him for what He does. If it is dire conflict to which one is called, so be it, for warfare, though with spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6), is none the less vigorous and dangerous for that (cf. Galatians 2:4-6). This must not be done deceitfully, deviously, ambiguously!
The Lord gives tasks, and all necessary financial, moral, procedural deliverances that go with these, not to nullify their point (like have soft beds when on army rigors), but to enable the result. This is exemplified in Acts 18:9-11, with 9:8-19, in Paul's later journeys, on the one hand, and in his earliest time of conversion on the other, for there is no difference with God who at all times is faithful.
Paul was indeed far from the knowledge of God, but stricken with light that showed too well his sins against the Lord, he was humbled, reduced by blindness to a child's role, brought to the challenge and charge through Ananias (Acts 9), as appointed and shown him. Then and later commissioned (Acts 13), even though time and again false brethren tried to kill him, for few are more voracious than those using the name of God but departing from His word, whether many in Islam (with another Jesus), Romanism (with the elevated bread and pope, of misuse), or false Protestants (many forgetting what they are about, and treating the Bible as a sink for cultural refuse).
You may see such write in newspapers, superficial and with a little knowledge, but soaring much into many large errors, as if courting a sublime put-down, and an erratic end. In a way, it can be like the ways of an ex-wife, divorced for adultery; but this, it is a spiritual divorce, (as in Hosea). It is however not always with so happy an ending as came there, but as to that, it is still coming, and now with a vehemence since Israel regained Jerusalem, showing us near Christ's return - Luke 21:24.
Yet once actually born again, of God, to become His child forever (John 5:24), as foreordained (II Timothy 1:8ff.) one is launched on the voyage, and there is no more in the way of rebirths, for there is one God and one life of man, and one disjoining, inherited, and one restoration. This is donated to those who receive the Lord as offering for their sins (Ephesians 1:1-11), He who is in heaven now (Acts 3:19ff.), and receive His Spirit and His word to rule their way.
Peter is so clear about this (I Peter 1:23), using the Greek which indicates a single act with an enduring result: indeed, as I John 3 tells us, those born of God do not practise sin, and as to those who once drink of the water which He gives, these shall never thirst again (John 4:14): so imbibe, drink freely, for it is without charge (Isaiah 55). Sin they may (and look at the beautiful life of King David, ditched because of Bath-Sheba); but they are corrected, ah yes most corrected as the case may require, and continue as those brought up by the Lord. It is in this but one voyage, and there is one result: and this also we omitted earlier to dwell upon in Psalm 107:
"So He guides them to their desired haven."
Praise God, therefore, for the salvation He offers, and if it is not yet yours, do not vacillate, but receive Him in humble worship, with thankfulness, and bow before Him in delighted reverence (Psalm 2:10-11), receiving that one salvation which nothing can savage (John 10:9,27-28, Ephesians 4:4, 2:5-8), with open heart, for it is a surgery of the open heart, and if you close it, there is no place for the remedy! (Matthew 13:15ff.)
THEN THEY ARE GLAD BECAUSE THEY ARE QUIET
The journey, the voyage, it is not for ever. The game, it has its strenuous mid-day, but evening and rest come at length. Indeed, it is part of the Christian pilgrimage that even in the midst of the fray, one has a heart at rest, beating with belief, surging with faith. When therefore Jesus the Christ appealed to people to come to Him, weary and heavy-laden though they might be, it was not so that He could merely pat their heads. HE had another yoke for them, and another burden, apportioned as suitable for their strength and individuality (Matthew 11:28ff.).
"I will give you rest,"
He promised. And so it is. It soars like a bird in the sky in Spring, it is quiet like a lake, its content because it is surrounded by His grace.
Thus when one may feel distressed at the presence of evil, at false brethren deftly misleading if it were possible the very elect, one's old church in the hands of brigands, dictators or confused teachers, who brand their theologies of woe, and insist that all follow them, some false apostles, it is not that one should churn, like the propellers of the Titanic, as they were raised into the air.
One can rest in the captain of our souls, as Joshua did in the supreme commander who came to signal His authority, as He brought Israel at long last, into their promised land (Joshua 5:13-15). Notice, however, how Joshua had commanded the people to sanctify themselves earlier (Joshua 3:5), before the Lord would do a miracle needed, namely, enable them in an aroused land, to cross over the Jordan. The Lord did it; for it was part of the way. It was a miracle, for His acts are His own.
If instead of faith, you wander, waiver, then you do not see these works of the Lord, do not give thanks for what you do not see, and are ready to halt. Take faith, arise in confidence in Him who calls you, and SEE what He will do. Praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
The greatest is salvation, since it involved the central theme of the central Being, the Lord Himself, in His sacrificial uniqueness as man, delivering many through anguish (Galatians 6:14), that they might not suffer it (Galatians 3), but rather being redeemed eternally (Hebrews 9:12), know Him in certainty, sanctity and at last, completely, even as they are known (I Corinthians 13). In this, the wonder is adoption as CHILDREN of the Lord. Here is a sort of birth when you KNOW your Father! and in Him we rest while the world whirs, whirls and curls up in its anguish, even as we labour. Let this earth go; we who are His will not go with it (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35), but stay with Him, our stay and our total, absolute, glorious, eternal savour, Saviour and God.