One of the joys of serving as a missionary in the Philippines is to see and hear firsthand the love for the truth that the Lord kindles in the hearts of His people. The zeal that is displayed by those who are new to the precious truths of God’s Word is often contagious. And admittedly, sometimes it even serves as a silent rebuke to us whose interest has often waned and whose light has at times grown dim. Their confession of the truth warms our hearts, especially when this confession is made in the midst of afflictions, such as typhoons, flooding, death of loved ones, and now specifically the coronavirus. What follows is a taste of what I’m referring to. I will let the quotes speak for themselves. May they warm your hearts as well. And may they also, by God’s grace, serve to reignite our own zeal and love for God’s marvelous truth.
As I grew up, I did so many sinner’s prayers to accept Christ every time there was an altar call because I wanted to make sure that that prayer would be enough for my name to be written in the book of life. There’s always no assurance. It’s really tiring because I put my salvation in my own hands. It’s only in the Reformed faith that I learned God is almighty and immutable.
In the Pentecostal church, they always tell people to put in money because that is their seed to God and that seed will grow and the Lord will bring it back a hundredfold. They provoke people to covet and to commit idolatry by pressure to give tithes and offerings. I can’t imagine why God called me out from among them. It’s only by grace in Christ, which I really don’t deserve.
When I was in Arminianism, we were never taught that Christ interceded for our salvation because, if that is so, why would we always need to maintain our salvation? What is tiring in Arminianism is you have to “work” for your salvation. It is extremely tiring. I wondered why God is like that? I did so many “good things” (just to meet that requirement), but what if I unexpectedly died and at that time my love waxed cold and I didn’t have the chance to do something about it? I tried and tried because I didn’t want to end up in hell. So I praise God for redeeming me not only from my sin but also from heresy. When I first heard TULIP, that God sounded more powerful and sovereign than the god I used to know. That is amazing truth! Sadly, the Arminian god gives no assurance of salvation.
Arminians don’t realize how weak their god is. It seems like not the God of the heavens and earth. Not Lord, but a weak person who begs. They always think that the decision is in their hands. That’s why when they pray they always “claim it” would happen. It seems like they are always the boss and God would just nod on all their petitions. I think it’s because they started and understood it all wrong.
I could foolishly say my brother-in-law’s death was bad timing, but I now know that everything, even death and corporate grief experiences, are according to God’s time and purpose and for the benefit of His children. The Reformed view has been a real blessing because it makes the Word of God real comfort and not just plain rhetoric.
I praise God for the very simple yet so profound and powerful preaching of Philippians 1:21-23 at my mother-in-law’s funeral. My wife’s family and in-laws were unanimous that they were kept awake by the Spirit of God through the depth of your simple exhortation. The message is evidence of God’s love and faithfulness to me and my family. God made our hearts glad.
Thanks to the Lord for the truths preached about the tenth commandment. I was struggling. I was even starting to ask God why I am lacking material things. My high school friends enjoy a lot of earthly things. I was jealous. I was really upset. But praise God I feel free now. I know God has opened my eyes for me to see the true value of life. I am relieved now.
The president is saluting doctors who are dying because of COVID-19 and governments are working hard to fight the virus. But I feel that being a covenant mother is harder. It’s non-stop work, especially protecting the children from spiritual viruses. There are non-stop viruses to combat. Physical and spiritual viruses. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.
Thanks for posting the speeches. I have done partial reading of all of them, but the realization of the truth in #3 (the sovereign work of God regarding good works in our salvation) blows me away. I hope I’m not disrespectful in expressing my thoughts. I praise God for keeping me still alive today to ponder on this truth. It’s awesome truth. Wow. Truly so!
I am spending this vacation reading the literature of the PRCA. I’ve learned a lot from the books I’ve bought, like Reformed Dogmatics, The Rock Whence We Are Hewn, and Covenant and Election. I want to be well grounded in Reformed teachings. This all gives me a renewed enthusiasm and passion now in my preaching and teaching.
If I may, I’d like to say a thing about overemphasizing God’s sovereignty. No church, no doctrine, no one can overemphasize God nor His attributes. He is a great God, His greatness is beyond scrutiny or examination. We can’t fathom or measure Him or know Him by observation. Even if we have memorized the Bible, the only source of true knowledge about God, I think we have not even scratched the surface of His greatness. Thus it is not possible to overemphasize His attributes such as His sovereignty. I frankly can say that this is the great disservice of the church (who honestly believe in God and the Bible) people in authority, not emphasizing or under-emphasizing God and His attributes. We know God is one, and it follows in the context of sensible theology that all His attributes are one and are not separate or divided from each other.
Well, it might crack our head [to understand God], but that’s the idea. Can we contain or know God 100% in our mind or senses or understand His ways or acts in creation? God is awesome. The best is to shut my mouth, hold the fingers, and be thankful that I know I’m the object of His great mercies.
The doctrine about God’s sovereignty is a very personal matter to a Christian because it is where he/she derives his comfort, security, assurance, and peace, especially in this time of great affliction. If God is not fully in control, so that things and events like this happen by chance or randomly, then what is faith all about, and what is life all about?
This time (of coronavirus quarantine) is a difficult time even for one who is soaked in the Word of God. But I’m thankful because my soul has finally found relief and is no longer grasping for the right food after being fed poison for a long time. For that I again thank God.
The Lord is at work in His saints here. By His power they embrace His truth. By His wisdom they apply it to their lives. And gladly they confess: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of Hosts” (Jer. 15:16). What a beautiful thing!