Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Precious Riches of the Church

Also in the church in Rome was a godly man named Lawrence, who was a minister of the Gospel and in charge of distributing the church’s goods. Marcianus greedily demanded that Lawrence tell him where the church’s riches were hid, thinking he could take them for himself. Lawrence requested three days in which to gather the riches together and present them to the governor.”

“When the third day came, Marcianus demanded that Lawrence keep his promise. Whereupon Lawrence stretched out his arms over some poor Christians that he had gathered in the place with him and said ‘These are the precious riches of the Church. They are the treasures in which faith in Christ reigns, in whom Christ has His dwelling place. What more precious jewel can the Church have than those in whom Christ promised to dwell?’”

“…After many cruel torments, this meek slave of Christ was laid on his fiery bed. But in God’s providence, it was as a bed of soft feathers, and the godly Lawrence laid there and perished as if taking a nourishing rest.” – John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

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Slave by John MacArthur

In “Slave” by John MacArthur, Christians are reminded that we are slaves to Christ. This is a fact that has been ignored by modern Christianity due to the Greek word “doulos” being mistranslated as servant. The translators most likely avoided the term “slave” because of the western preconceived notions of slavery. In western society, slavery is an offensive idea, because of the evil that has occurred in western slavery.

 

Slaves of Christ should be understood in the context of Greco-Roman and Hebrew slavery. Many slaves were treated very well, although, there were slaves that were treated cruelly. Slaves with wealthy and influential masters enjoyed a high status in society because of their masters’ statuses. If the Cesar’s slaves were proud to be his slaves, how much more should we enjoy being the slaves of Christ?

 

John MacArthur also supports his view that we are slaves of Christ with the testimonies of faithful Christians throughout history. Early Christians boasted of the freedom that they found in being slaves of Christ. Martyrs could not deny their Master, because He had purchased them. Throughout history Christians have enjoyed a privileged position as slaves of Christ.

 

If you are not a slave of Christ, then you are a slave of sin. Sin is a harsh taskmaster, whereas Christ is pleased to welcome His slaves as members of His own family. Indeed, slaves of Christ are His brothers and sisters.

 

Let us be faithful slaves while our Master is away, so that He will be overjoyed upon His return.

 

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

Christians are called to pray without ceasing. In “In Constant Prayer” Robert Benson introduces to a new generation the “Daily Office”. Robert Benson roots the Daily Office in Jewish and Church history. It is a time to seek and worship God. The Daily Office consists of various set prayers, songs, psalms, and scriptures. The Daily Office can be said one time per day or many times per day.

 

Much of the book is devoted to Robert Benson’s life and how the Daily Office is an important part of it. He writes in a very down to earth and friendly style. I have no doubt that he has enjoyed the Daily Office and that he has found it a benefit to himself.

 

In my opinion, the book failed in its task. The Daily Office is far from being constant prayer. It is simply set times of prayer throughout the day with set prayers. Robert Benson did not back up his historical claims for the Daily Office with any references, therefore, I am not so convinced that it was important to the early Church. The Daily Office may be of some help if you need some help knowing how to pray, but it will not gain you intimacy with your Father. It seems to me a religious act which belongs with the old covenant. We should be able to go beyond set prayers and enjoy Christ with whatever He sets in our hearts.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Aids to “Revelation” by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee

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…The reader of this book must keep his heart pure- that is to say, he is not to read it out of curiosity concerning future events. He ought instead to peruse its pages with the desire to know more of God’s word so that he may keep God’s will and may receive whatever He intends to give through His word.” – Watchman Nee

In Aids to “Revelation”, Watchman Nee opens our eyes to see that “…the book of Revelation is not one of secrecy but one of disclosure.” This opposes the modern view that Revelation is one of mysterious symbols that cannot be understood. To show that Revelation is indeed a revelation, Watchman Nee points out that more than half of the symbols in Revelation are already explained in its pages.

This book in not an in depth study of Revelation, but is rather, as its title states, an aid. Watchman Nee briefly examines the various interpretations of Revelation and decides that the Futurist position is most satisfactory. Although, He refuses to “argue which interpretation is right and which is wrong”. The true interpretation of Revelation is to be found in its own pages.

The key to understanding Revelation, according to the Watchman Nee, is in Revelation 1:19:

Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
(Rev 1:19 ESV)

Therefore, Watchman Nee divides the books into these three categories: Things that you have seen, those that are, and those that are to take place after this. As he describes these divisions, Watchman Nee explains how the prophecies of Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John are all complementary and speak of the same things. In addition, Watchman Nee describes the meaning and significance of numbers and uses Scripture to reinforce the meaning of each number.

This book is a great encouragement to those of us who are overwhelmed by the complexity of modern interpretations and the belief that this book is not understandable. If you don’t agree with Watchman Nee’s understanding of Revelation, in spite of His Scripture references and use of historical sources, this book will at least encourage you that the book of Revelation was meant to be understandable for those who love God.

A Look at Fasting Pt. 1

Considering that we are entering into the time when some people participate in Lent, I thought I would take a look at fasting. (I will look at fasting in parts, since I really don’t like long posts.) This is not only in regards to fasting during Lent, but fasting at anytime. If you fast during Lent do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. If you fast some other times, do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. What I do respect from Lent is that it is a corporate fast of the Body, for those who wish to participate. I do think fasting has been neglected in our times, although it is important in the life in Christ. We will start with what Christ had to say about fasting, since He is Everything to us.

Jesus fasted.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
(Mat 4:1-2 ESV)

Jesus prophesied that we would fast.

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luk 5:33-36 ESV)

Christ, as our example, fasted in the wilderness. He also expected us to fast after He had been taken to His Father. We wait for the return of our Bridegroom, when we will have no need to fast. For now, He has not returned, so we continue in our prayers and fasts.

Let Us Pray by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee

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In “Let Us Pray”, Watchman Nee brings us into the deep waters of the mystery of prayer. He reveals that “the prayer which a believer utters on earth is but the voicing of the Lord’s will in heaven”. Any expression of our own will that is not God’s will is not prayer at all and will be ineffective.

Using examples from Scripture, Watchman Nee shows the importance of prayer in the lives of Christians, because “all the actions in heaven are governed by the actions on earth!” Although, God has His eternal will, which He will complete, He will wait to act until His People join with Him in prayer.

Watchman Nee uses the parable of the widow, who repeatedly bothers the judge because of the oppression of her enemy, to show the importance of praying against Satan. This is a type of prayer that Jesus prophesied would be rare when He returns.

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luk 18:8 ESV)

Watchman Nee continues throughout the book showing the importance of prayer, offering examples of effectual prayers, explaining types of prayers, and revealing the schemes that Satan uses to harm us.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much when I started reading this little book. I have quite a few books on prayer and there comes a point when you have to ask: “Is there anything else that someone can say about prayer?” Watchman Nee has showed me my many failures in prayer. I understood that prayer is always to be according to God’s will, but I didn’t realize He waits for our prayers before He acts.

How unfaithful to my Lord have I been in this matter! I have not been praying for His return. I have not been praying for Satan to be bound and cast into the pit. I have not begged our Father to rebuke the evil one with all of His wrath for causing all kinds of pains and sufferings on His Children. Christ has revealed to me that He wishes for us to join in His work and is willing to delay the fulfillment of His will, because we don’t yet care enough to pray about His desires. How the army of heaven has suffered, because we have been unwilling to aid them in their battle against the enemy of Christ.

If Christ is always interceding for us, how can we justify not joining with Him in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God?

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