Bulletin Edition November 2018

Glory! Glory! Glory!

Do you ever read the Bible, the holy scriptures, and think, “Hmm. Can’t mean that.” So you read it again. “Wow. That’s pretty amazing.” Then you read it again and think, “Oh! Maybe that’s exactly what it means.”

It happens a lot when I read John 17. For example, in John 17:1 Jesus says to His Father, “the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee”. What hour is this? It is the hour of Christ’s death, the hour of cursing, separation and judgment. Yet, this hour of shame glorified the Son of God, our Lord Jesus, and allowed the Son to glorify the Father.

How is it possible? How can the hour of cursing also be the hour of glory? For one simple reason. Though shameful and bitter, this hour was the culmination of a great work, the accomplishment of a mighty mission and the achievement of a unique task.

In the hour of His greatest shame the God-man became the sin substitute for His people. He fulfilled the will of God for the salvation of sinners. He honoured the Father by satisfying divine justice. He perfectly demonstrated eternal love, and completely vindicated true holiness. In this way the Son glorified the Father.

But how was the Son glorified in sin, suffering and separation? The answer is in verse 2. He gave, by His death, “eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”.

These happy, blessed recipients of eternal life were given to the Godman in covenant obligation. Christ as God needed nothing to be given to Him but in the everlasting covenant of peace we see the Lord Jesus stooping and accepting the role of Redeemer for God’s chosen people. He willingly did this for the giving of eternal life “to as many” as were given to Him, given into His charge to save.

In these verses we discover sovereign election, limited atonement, and the unconditional free grace of God. And we see the end of God’s purpose in the salvation of sinners. In doing everything necessary for our redemption and deliverance the Lord Jesus accomplished a great salvation, earned for us eternal life, and demonstrated Himself to be both wonderful and glorious. The Father was glorified and the Son was glorified. And we are glorified in Him.

Oh! what will it be like to enter into eternal life? The Lord Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” What joy, what marvellous prospects! Perhaps you have some ideas as to what eternal life will consist of when we enter heaven. It is probably best to leave definitions to the One who knows. God the Holy Spirit here tells us that eternal life is to know God. Eternal life is to know God as holy yet merciful, just yet gracious, good and loving to the people of His care, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the fulfiller of all righteousness for us. In this way our blessed Saviour both honoured the Father and was Himself exalted. So He could say, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” John 17:4.

We brethren here at Nowra wish again to express our gratitude to our gracious sovereign Lord for bringing our friends Peter and Gill to our fellowship again. Those spiritual blessings are ours through the covenant mercies of our dear Saviour are often veiled from us in this wilderness journey. Your visit has been a reminder yet again of the everlasting faithfulness of our God to His promises of drawing His people to Himself as the Son of His love is raised up in our presence. Faithful is He that promised He will do it – all that He has promised.
As you leave be assured of our gratitude, love, thankfulness to our Lord for His word preached so faithfully and eager desire that you might be returned to us again soon.

Do You Have Precious Faith

It is a pleasure and a privilege for the Lord’s people to be here to worship today. It is a privilege and a pleasure to worship God in spirit and in truth and to fellowship with the blessed people of God, “who have obtained like precious faith with us”.

Only those of faith can truly worship the Lord and fellowship with His people. Do you realise what a privilege this is? Do you know your faith is precious faith? Do you comprehend just how rare and precious it is?

Permit me to ask, “How did you obtain it?” Do you possess precious faith because you earned it? Then it must have been a mighty task you performed to gain such a rare and precious prize. Did it come by reward? Then you must have accomplished some great feat of outstanding value to be deserving of this precious possession from God. Did it come because of your good and holy works? Your dutiful and fulsome obedience to God’s commands? Then you truly are a worthy and wonderful person! You have much to boast of.

Or perhaps your precious faith was not of your doing at all. Perhaps it is a gift from God, received in mercy, bestowed by grace. Perhaps it was granted not because it is what you deserve but by pure, unmerited grace and the very last thing you deserve?

The apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3, “ … his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness”. Do you see this? “All things” means all God’s blessings of eternal and spiritual life. This gift of everything good and precious from God we call sovereign grace. It comes from heaven as a free gift.

Our Almighty God, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, gives grace and peace to His beloved people out of His sheer goodness and kindness. He freely bestows it in love upon those who are unworthy, undeserving and unable to do anything for themselves to merit God’s blessing. Paul says, in Romans 9:16, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

If God gives grace there is nothing in it of works. Again, Paul says in Romans 11:6, “if by grace, then is it no more of works”. If to any degree or to any extent grace and works are mingled, moulded or merged together for justification, sanctification or reconciliation with God; it is no more grace.

If God gives peace, then there is no more labour, effort, wearying, worrying or dutiful obedience required in order to be righteous, holy, and acceptable to God. Why? Because the Lord Jesus Christ has made us righteous, holy, acceptable, and faithful; for these are amongst the “all things” that pertain unto life and godliness. As He is well-pleasing to God we are well-pleasing to God in Him. The Lord Jesus gives rest from labour. Rest is peace and His peace is perfect.

Perfect peace is the end and object of our precious faith. In Isaiah 26:3 the prophet of God declares, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” We trust in Christ by faith. Faith is a gift. It is rare and precious and it stays our minds on Christ.

The Highest Imaginable Love

I doubt eternity itself will supply sufficient time for us to discover the depth of God’s love towards us in Christ Jesus. I want to show you one short passage to whet your appetite to further explore the height, breadth, depth and strength of God’s love to us in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 17:23, the Saviour tells us God loves us with the same love with which He loves the Son. Consider that! He loves His people as He loves Christ Himself! Our Redeemer desires a worldwide declaration of God’s faithful love for His people so that, “the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me”. This ought to astonish us. The love of the Father to the Son is the very same as the Father’s love to us. In its nature, degree, quality extent, depth and provision we possess the same love wherewith God loves Christ.

The psalmist says in Psalm 63:3 “ … thy lovingkindness is better than life.” Do we know this lovingkindness, this wonderful divine love? Then let us, with the Psalmist, praise His holy name. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38, 39).

Exceeding Great And Precious Promises (2 Peter 1:3-4)
There are many sweet and exceeding great and precious promises given to the Lord’s people. But none are sweeter than what the Lord Jesus Christ says concerning our sin and how He made complete satisfaction for them with His precious blood. Look at these precious promises again.
Psalm 103:10-12…He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 38:17…Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
Isaiah 44:22-23…I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it.
Jeremiah 50:20…In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
Micah 7:19-20…He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob.
Matthew 1:21…And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Romans 4:7-8… Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Heb. 10:17-18…And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
1 John 1:9-10…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 4:10… Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Yes, the Lord’s people are a sinful people and full of iniquity (Isa. 1:5-6; Rom. 7:24-25) but do not despair, thanks be unto God; the Lord Jesus Christ came to save sinners (Rom. 5:6-8; 6:23). Oh what a glorious God and Saviour we have (Matt. 9:13; Luke 19:10; 1 Tim. 1:15).
Tom Harding


“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17

The Lord Jesus Christ is the “Friend of sinners”, Who loved His own
before the world began, loved them while they were yet sinners and loves
them to the end. Christ is the Son of God and the firstborn among many
brethren. He is the Elder Brother Who was born for adversity; born to
bear the sin of God’s people. He is that Friend that sticketh closer
than a brother. He will never forsake His friends and brothers. May we
be the same friend and brother to our brethren, loving them in the depth
of their sins, loving them fervently, loving them when they need it
most, loving them when they are experiencing great adversity and
trouble. Let us love at all times, for we were born again for these
times. ~Paul Mahan

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