Saturday, February 28, 2015

First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:16

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto learning: continue therein: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (Read also Luke 11:28; James 1:25)

Study Notes

Take heed unto thyself

Not as a man, or a Christian only, but as a minister; and as every minister should take heed to his life and conversation, that it be exemplary, as in 1Timothy 4:12  to his gifts, that they be not lost, or neglected, but used and improved; to the errors and heresies abroad, that he be not infected with them; and to his flock, which is the other part of himself, that he feed it with knowledge and understanding: and to thy doctrine: preached by him, that it be according to the Scriptures, be the doctrine of Christ, and his apostles, and according to godliness; that it tend to edification, and is pure, incorrupt, and all of a piece; and that it be expressed in the best manner, with all boldness and plainness; and that he defend it against all opposition.

Continue in them

Or "with them"; the members of the church at Ephesus; or rather in the doctrines of the Gospel; which should be done, though a majority is against them; though rejected by the wise, learned, and rich; though not to be comprehended by carnal reason; and though loaded with reproach and scandal; and though persecuted, yea even unto death for them. (Read also 1 Corinthians 1:19-20, 25, 27)

For in doing this, thou shall both save thyself

A minister by taking heed to himself, and doctrine, saves himself from the pollutions of the world, from the errors and heresies of false teachers, from the blood of all men, and from all just blame in his ministry.

And them that hear thee

By being an example to them in doctrine and conversation, a minister is the means of saving and preserving those that attend on him, from erroneous principles, and immoral practices; and by faithfully preaching the Gospel to his hearers, he is instrumental in their eternal salvation; for though Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, the only efficient and procuring cause of salvation, yet the ministers of the Gospel are instruments by which souls believe in him, and so are saved; the word preached by them, being attended with the Spirit of God, becomes the ingrafted word, which is able to save, and is the power of God unto salvation; and nothing can more animate and engage the ministers of the word to take heed to themselves and doctrine, and abide therein, than this, of being the happy instruments of converting sinners, and saving them from death; (Read also James 5:20 )

Friday, February 27, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:15

15 These things exercise, and give thyself unto them, that it may be seen how thou profitest among all men.

Study Notes

Meditate on these things

Not only on those instructions, advices, and exhortations, which the apostle had given him, throughout this chapter, which might be very useful to him, often to think of, and revolve in his mind, and seriously consider and reflect upon; but upon the Scriptures, the reading of which he had recommended to him, and the doctrines contained therein; it becomes every man not only to read, but meditate on the word of God, and much more ministers of the Gospel. The Scriptures should be read with care, and be industriously and laboriously searched into, as men dig in mines for silver or golden ore; and passages in it should be carefully compared together, the more obscure with those that are more plain and easy; and the whole is to be studied with great attention and application.

Give thyself wholly to them

To the reading of the Scriptures, meditation upon them, and preaching the doctrines contained in them, clear of all secular affairs, or worldly business and employment. The apostles threw off the branch of deaconship, or ministering to the poor, that they might give themselves up wholly to the ministry of the word, and prayer; and much more should worldly business be cast off, where the circumstances of ministers and churches will admit of it; a Christian soldier, or minister of the Gospel, ought not, if possible, to be entangled with the affairs of this life; he finds enough to do without, in the discharge of his ministerial function; and though the apostles sometimes wrought with their own hands, yet it was not because they had so much leisure from the ministry, or time on their hands, or because they had not a power of forbearing working, but out of necessity, see ( Acts 20:34 ) ( 1 Corinthians 9:6 1 Corinthians 9:7 ) ( 2 Timothy 2:4 ) , or these words may be rendered.

Be thou in these things

Let thine heart be in them; for if a minister's heart is not in his work, if he does not take delight in it, it will be a slavery and drudgery to him; spend all the time and strength in them, give thyself continually to them, and be always diligent and laborious in them.

That thy profiting may appear to all

That it may be manifest to all that attend the ministry of the word that there is an increase in gifts, a growing in spiritual knowledge, an improvement of the talents bestowed: or that this profiting or increase might appear in all things; in every branch of the ministry, both in exhortation or consolation, and in doctrine; or that it might be manifest among all; that is, all that hear might receive some profit, might learn, and be comforted and edified; faith might be increased, and the joy of it be furthered; and all under the ministry visibly thrive and flourish.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:14

Despise not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the company of the Eldership.

Study Notes

Neglect not the gift that is in thee

What qualifies men for the work of the ministry is a gift from God: it is not of nature, nor is it mere natural abilities and capacity; nor is it any thing acquired, it is not [of] human learning, or the knowledge of languages, arts, and sciences; nor is it special saving grace; for a man may have all these, and yet not be apt to teach, or fit for the ministry; but it is a peculiar and distinct gift, it is a gift of interpreting the Scriptures, and of dispensing the mysteries of grace to the edification of others; which, when it meets in a man with all the rest before mentioned, makes him very considerable: and this gift is in a man; it is a treasure put into earthen vessels, a good treasure in the heart, out of which a good minister of Christ brings forth many good things, things new and old, both for the delight and profit of men: and this gift is by no means to be neglected; this talent should not be hid in the earth, or wrapped up in a napkin; it should not lie dormant and useless, but should be stirred up, cultivated, and improved, as it may by reading, meditation, and prayer. And in order to enforce this exhortation on Timothy.

Which was given thee by prophecy

that is, it was prophesied of before hand, by some of the prophets in the church, that a very extraordinary gift should be bestowed upon this young man, which would make him a very useful person in the church of God; see ( 1 Timothy 1:18 ) and since it was now given, he ought not therefore to neglect it: or it was given him, as some read it, with prophecy, that he should use it, and it should be of great advantage to many souls; or, together with this gift of preaching, he had also a gift of foretelling things to come; or it may be, the words may be better rendered, "for prophecy": that is, for preaching, for prophesying is frequently used for preaching; see ( 1 Corinthians 13:2 ) ( 1 Corinthians 14:1 1 Corinthians 14:3, 31 ) and then the sense is, that this gift was given him to qualify him for the interpreting of the Scriptures, the explaining of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and for the preaching of the Gospel; and therefore he should not neglect it, but use it for this purpose.

With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery

Or "of the eldership", or elders. So (Gerousia) , "eldership", is used by the Septuagint on ( Exodus 3:16 Exodus 3:18 ) for the elders of Israel. Now of these elders Paul was one, ( 2 Timothy 1:6 ) nor is it unusual to call the apostles elders; see ( 1 Peter 5:1 ) ( 2 John 1:1 ) ( 3 John 1:1 ) . Who joined with the apostle, in the imposition of hands on Timothy, is not certain; I should think only apostles, since here was a gift of the Holy Ghost came along with it; and it was only through the laying on of the hands of the apostles that the Holy Ghost was given. Philip, an evangelist, laid not hands on the believing Samaritans; but Peter and John, apostles, were sent down from Jerusalem to Samaria to do it, whereby many received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, fitting them to take the care of those new converts, and to spread the Gospel further in those parts, ( Acts 8:5 Acts 8:12 Acts 8:14 Acts 8:17 Acts 8:18 ). The apostle in calling those that joined with him, in putting hands on Timothy, the "presbytery or eldership", may have some reference to "the elders of the congregation", which laid hands on the bullock for a sin offering, ( Leviticus 4:15 ) by whom some understand the great Sanhedrim [and] others, not all the elders, but some particular persons, in number three; and so the ordination of a Rabbi was by three, hence we read of "imposition of hands by the elders

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:8

 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, which hath the promise of the life present, and of that that is to come.

Study Notes

For bodily exercise profiteth little

Meaning not the exercise of the body in the Olympic games, as by running, wrestling, &c. which profited but little, for the obtaining of a corruptible crown at most; though since a word is used here, and in the preceding verse, borrowed from thence, there may be an allusion to it: much less exercise of the body for health or recreation, as riding, walking, playing at any innocent diversion; which profits but for a little time, as the Syriac and Arabic versions read; and the latter renders the phrase "bodily recreation": nor is the exercise of the body in the proper employment of trade and business, to which a man is called, and which profits for the support of life for a little while, intended; nor any methods made use of for the mortification of the body, and the keeping of it under, as watchings, fastings, lying on the ground, scourging but rather mere formal external worship, as opposed to godliness, or spiritual worship. There ought to be an exercise of the body, or a presenting of that in religious worship before God; there should be an outward attendance on the word and ordinances; but then, without internal godliness, this will be of little advantage: it is indeed showing an outward regard to public worship, and may be a means of keeping persons out of bad company, and from doing evil things; but if this is trusted to, and depended on, it will be of no avail to everlasting life; see ( Luke 13:26 Luke 13:27 )

But godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is

to the health of the body, and the welfare of the soul; to the things of this life, and of that which is to come; to themselves and others, though not to God, or in a way of merit. The continuance of it, of length of days, of living long in the earth, and of enjoying all necessary temporal good things, the mercies of life; for God has promised to his spiritual worshippers, to them that fear him, and walk uprightly, that their days shall be prolonged, that they shall want no good thing, nor will he withhold any from them that is for their good, that is proper and convenient for them.

And of that which is to come

Of eternal life; not that eternal life is received or procured hereby; for it is the free gift of God, and is not by any works of men, for otherwise it would not be by promise; for its being by promise shows it to be of grace: there is nothing more or less in it than this, that God promises glory to his own grace; for internal godliness, which animates and maintains spiritual worship, is of God, is of his own grace, and every part of it is a free gift of his, as faith, hope, love, fear.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:6

On Being a Good Shepherd 

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, which hast been nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine which thou hast continually followed.

Study Notes

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things;

Either of all the main and principal things already mentioned in the preceding chapters; as that the end of the commandment is love; that Christ's coming into the world to save the chief of sinners is a faithful saying, and worthy of acceptation; that prayers should be made for all sorts of men, for the reasons given; and that there is salvation for men and women through the incarnate Son of God; that such and such are the qualifications of elders and deacons; and that the incarnation of Christ is, without controversy, the great mystery of godliness: or of the things which are particularly hinted at in the prophecy delivered in the beginning of this chapter; as that there should be a falling off from the doctrine of faith in the latter days; that this should come to pass through attending to erroneous spirits, and doctrines of "demons", and through the lies of hypocritical, hardened, and infamous men; whose particular dogmas, by which they might be known, would be, to forbid marriage to certain persons, which is of divine institution and honourable, and to order an abstinence from meats at certain times, contrary to the will and providence of God. These the apostle would have Timothy propose, and subject to consideration, and from time to time refresh the memories of the saints with, who are apt, through negligence and inattention, and the weakness of the natural faculty, to be forgetful hearers of the word; that whenever such persons should arise, they might be on their guard against them. It is one part of the business of Gospel ministers to put the churches in mind of what they have received and known, and are established in. By "the brethren" are meant the members of the church at Ephesus; whom the apostle accounted as brethren, being of the same family and household, and would have Timothy reckon and use as such, and not as subjects and servants, to be lorded over.

Thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ;

A minister of Jesus Christ is one of his making, qualifying, calling, and sending; and who makes Christ, the doctrines respecting his person and offices, his grace, righteousness, and salvation, the subject of his ministry; and he is a good one, who, besides having a good work of grace wrought in him, has good gifts and abilities from Christ, and who makes a good use of them, and freely and fully imparts them for the good of others; and being employed in a good work, he abides in it, and nothing can deter or remove him from it; and such an one was Timothy, and so would it be manifest by doing what the apostle hints unto him; as well as he would appear to be.

Nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine:

by which are meant the truths of the Gospel, called the words of faith, because they are things to be believed, hold forth the object of faith, Christ, and are the means by which faith comes, and is increased: and good doctrine, being the doctrine of the Scriptures, and of Christ, and of his apostles, and according to godliness; and contain good things, which make for the glory of the grace of God, and the comfort and welfare of immortal souls. These are of a nourishing nature; they are the wholesome and salutary words of Christ; they have in them milk for babes, and meat for strong men (Read Hebrews 5:12-14); by which both grow and thrive, when error eats as does a canker. So Philo Judaeus speaks of the soul, being "nourished with sciences", and not with food and drink, which the body needs; and a little after he says, you see the food of the soul what it is, it is the continual word of God. Now Timothy, by discharging his work aright, would show to the brethren, that as he had been nourished and trained up, first under his religious parents, and then under the Apostle Paul; so he still continued in the same truths, and to live and feed upon them, and to be nourished by them: or the words may be rendered actively, nourishing; that is, either himself, as the Syriac version renders it, or others; for though all nourishment comes from Christ the head, yet it is ministered by joints and bands to the members; it is conveyed by the means of the word and ordinances, ministered by the preachers of the Gospel, who feed the church with knowledge, and with understanding; and none but those who are nourished themselves are fit to be the nourishers of others; and such an one was this evangelist: for it follows,

whereunto thou hast attained;

he had arrived to a considerable degree of knowledge of Gospel truths, and was still pursuing and following on to know more of them, and was exhorted to continue in them, knowing of whom he had learned them. All this is said by way of encouragement to him to do as the apostle directs.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:2

Which speak lies through hypocrisy, and have their consciences burned with an hot iron,

Study Notes

Speaking lies in hypocrisy

Or "through the hypocrisy of those that speak lies"; for the apostle is still speaking of the means by which the apostasy should rise, and get ground; and it should be by the means of persons that should deliver lying or false doctrine under the colour of truth, and make great pretensions to religion and holiness, which would greatly take with men, and captivate and lead them aside: and this plainly points at the abettors of antichrist, who deliver out the lying doctrines,  all under a show of godliness, and the promoting of religion and holiness.

having their conscience seared with a hot iron

which exactly describes the above mentioned persons, whose consciences are cauterized and hardened, and past feeling; and have no regard to what they say or do, make no conscience of anything, but under a cloak of sanctity commit the most shocking impieties; and are men of the most infamous characters, and of the most enormous and scandalous lives and conversations; so that the metaphor may be taken either from the searing of flesh with an iron, or cauterizing it, whereby it grows callous and hard; or from the stigmas or marks which used to be put on malefactors, or such who have been guilty of notorious crimes.(a)

(a) Editor’s thought - One would add here that being seared might likewise extend to being branded. This is to say, that one’s mind is permanently imprinted with all forms of improper thoughts and a plethora of sins. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 4:1

Now the Spirit speaketh evidently, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, and shall give heed unto spirits of error, and doctrines of devils,

Study Notes

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly:

The prophecy hereafter mentioned was not an human conjecture, but, as all true prophecy, it came from the Spirit of God, who spoke or delivered it; either in the prophets of the Old Testament, who, as they spoke of the Gospel dispensation, so of the defection that should be in it; and particularly of antichrist, and of the apostasy through him, which is what is here intended, especially in Daniel's prophecies, under the names of the little horn, and vile person, ( Daniel 7:1-28 ) and ( Daniel 11:1-45 ) , or in the Lord Jesus Christ, who foretold that false prophets would arise and deceive many; or in some of the prophets in the Christian church, such as Agabus, and others, who might in so many words foretell this thing; or rather in the apostle himself, at this time, since this prophecy was delivered not in dark sayings, in an enigmatical way, in an obscure manner, as prophecies generally were, but in plain language, and easy to be understood, and wanted no interpreter to unriddle it; and seeing that it is nowhere to be found in so many express words elsewhere: and moreover, the apostle does not say the Spirit "hath spoken", but the Spirit "speaketh"; then, at the time of the writing of these words, in and by him. The prediction follows,

That in the latter times some should depart from the faith:

that is, from the doctrine of faith, notwithstanding it is indisputably the great mystery of godliness, as it is called in the latter part of the preceding chapter; for from the true grace of faith there can be no final and total apostasy, such as is here designed; for that can never be lost. It is of an incorruptible nature, and therefore more precious than gold that perishes; Christ is the author and finisher of it; his prevalent mediation is concerned for it; it is a gift of special grace, and is without repentance; it springs from electing grace, and is secured by it; and between that and salvation there is an inseparable connection; it may indeed decline, be very low, and lie dormant, as to its acts and exercise, but not be lost: there is a temporary faith, and a persuasion of truth, or a mere assent to it, which may be departed from, but not that faith which works by love: here it intends a profession of faith, which being made, should be dropped by some; or rather the doctrine of faith, which some would embrace, and then err concerning, or entirely quit, and wholly apostatize from. And they are said to be some, and these many, as they are elsewhere represented, though not all; for the elect cannot be finally and totally deceived; the foundation of election stands sure amidst the greatest apostasy; and there are always a few names that are not defiled with corrupt principles and practices; Christ always had some witnesses for the truth in the darkest times: and now this defection was to be "in the latter times"; either of the apostolic age, which John, the last of the apostles, lived to see; and therefore he calls it the last time, or hour, in which were many antichrists, ( 1 John 2:18 ) . And indeed in the Apostle Paul's time the mystery of iniquity began to work, which brought on this general defection; though here it has regard to some later times under the Gospel dispensation; to the time when the man of sin, and the son of perdition, was revealed, and when all the world wondered after the beast: and indeed, such will be the degeneracy in the last days of all, that when the son of man comes, as the grace, so the doctrine of faith will be scarcely to be found in the world: the means by which this apostasy will obtain and prevail will be through men's

Giving heed to seducing spirits:

either to doctrines which are of a deceiving nature; or to men who profess to have the Spirit of God, and have not, but are evil men and seducers, deceiving, and being deceived; that lie in wait to deceive, and handle the word of God deceitfully; and by attending on the ministry of such persons, through hearing them, and conversing with them, the defection was to begin and spread; and therefore such should be carefully avoided, and their ministry shunned; nor should they be received, nor bid God speed.

And doctrines of devils:

such as are devised by devils, as all damnable doctrines be; and all lying ones, for the devil is the father of them; and as are all the false doctrines introduced by antichrist, for his coming was after the working of Satan; and particularly those doctrines of his concerning worshipping of angels, and saints departed, may be called the doctrines of devils, or of "demons"; being much the same with the demon worship among the Heathens, of which the devil was the inventor: unless by doctrines of devils should be meant the doctrines of men, who for their cunning and sophistry, for their lies and hypocrisy, for their malice, and murdering of the souls of men, are comparable to devils.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 3:16

16 And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, which is, God is manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Study Notes

What follows is so, the incarnation of Christ, his birth of a virgin, the union of the two natures, divine and human, in his person; this is a mystery, which though revealed, and so to be believed, is not to be discerned nor accounted for, nor the modus of it to be comprehended by reason: and it is a great one, next, if not equal, to the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the divine essence; and is a mystery of godliness, which tends to encourage internal and external religion, powerful and 
practical godliness in all the parts and branches of it; and is so beyond all dispute and doubt.

The Word, or Son of God; see ( 1 John 3:8 ) who existed as a divine Person, and as a distinct one from the Father and Spirit, before his incarnation; and which is a proof of his true and proper deity: the Son of God in his divine nature is equally invisible as the Father, but became manifest by the assumption of human nature in a corporeal way, so as to be seen, heard, and felt: and by "flesh" is meant, not that part of the body only, which bears that name, nor the whole body only, but the whole human nature, consisting of a true body and a reasonable soul; so called, partly to denote the frailty of it, and to show that it was not a person, but a nature, Christ assumed; and the clause is added, not so much to distinguish this manifestation of Christ from a spiritual manifestation of him to his people, as in distinction from all other manifestations of him in the Old Testament, in an human form for a time, and in the cloud, both in the tabernacle and temple. This clause is a very apt and full interpretation of the word "Moriah", the name of the mount in which Jehovah would manifest himself, and be seen, ( Genesis 22:2, 14 ).

Justified in the Spirit either by the Spirit of God, making his human nature pure and holy, and preserving it from original sin and taint; and by descending on him at his baptism, thereby testifying that he was the Son of God; and by the miracles wrought by his power, which proved Jesus to be the Messiah against those that rejected him; and by his coming down upon the apostles at Pentecost; and who in their ministry vindicated him from all the aspersions cast upon him: or else it is to be understood of the divine nature of Christ, in distinction from his flesh or human nature; in the one he was manifest and put to death for the sins of his people, which were put upon him, and bore by him; and by the other he was quickened and declared to be the Son of God; and being raised from the dead, he was justified and acquitted from all the sins of his people, and they were justified in him; he having made full satisfaction to justice for them.

Seen of angels; meaning not ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, who are sometimes so called; but the blessed spirits, the inhabitants of heaven: by these he was seen at his birth, who then descended and sung praise to God on that account; and in the wilderness, after he had been tempted by Satan, when they ministered unto him; and in the garden upon his agony and sweat there, when one appeared and strengthened him; and at his resurrection from the dead, who rolled away the stone from the sepulchre, and told the women he was risen from the dead; as also at his ascension to heaven, when they attended him thither in triumph; and now in heaven, where they wait upon him, and worship him, and are ministering spirits, sent forth by him to do his pleasure; and he is seen by them the ministry of the Gospel; into the truths of which they look with pleasure, and gaze upon with unutterable delight and admiration; especially those which respect the person and offices of Christ. Some copies read, "seen of men", but that is implied in the first clause.

Preached unto the Gentiles; that is to say the worst of men, and that by the express orders of Christ himself; and which was foretold in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and yet was a mystery, hid from ages and generations past.

Believed on in the world; among the Jews, and in the nations of the world, so that he was preached with success; and faith in Christ is the end of preaching; though this is not of a man's self, but is the gift of God, and the operation of his power: and it was a marvelous thing, considering the reproach and ignominy Christ lay under, through the scandal of the cross, that he should be believed on as he was. This can be ascribed to nothing else but to the power of God, which went along with the ministry of the word.

And finally received up into glory, being raised from the dead, and had a glory put upon his risen body; he ascended in a glorious manner to heaven, in a cloud, and in chariots of angels, and was received there with a welcome by his Father; and is set down at his right hand, and crowned with glory and honour, and glorified with the glory he had with him before the world was.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 2:8

8 I will therefore that the men pray, everywhere lifting up pure hands without wrath, or doubting.

Herein lies the gist of our prayer line to our Creator. That would, nay should be in prayer at anytime giving all thanks and praise to Him, and to seek prayer for all in all things. The lifting of hands, (and subsequent bowing of the knees), defines our submission to Him. It represents that we are acting in pure faith, and a cleansed heart. No prayer for evil to befall others that have wronged us in anyway, that is to say to seek evil to repay evil. But to seek goodness to change evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Likewise to never cease from prayer, and to pray and believe in faith that prayer will be answered. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 2:5

5 For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, which is the man Christ Jesus,

The unity of God with respect to men, as that there is but one God, who is the Creator of all men, and who, in a providential way, is the Saviour of all men; and in a way of special grace is the one God, the one covenant God of all sorts of men, of Jews and Gentiles; for he has taken of the latter into the covenant of his grace, as well as the former, and has loved them with a special and distinguishing love, has chosen them in Christ to salvation, and has sent his Son to redeem them; and of these he calls by his grace, regenerates, sanctifies, adopts, pardons, and justifies. therefore all sorts of men, Gentiles as well as Jews, are to be prayed for, that is to say for all, by all one for the other.

Now also a Mediator is of more than one, and has to do with two parties; and these at variance among themselves, between whom he stands as a middle person; his business is to bring them together, and make peace between them; and such an one is Christ: the two parties are God and his elect, who in their natural state are at a distance from God, and at enmity to him, and who have broken his law, and affronted his justice; Christ stands as a middle person, a daysman between them, and lays his hands upon them both; has to do with things pertaining to the glory of God, and makes reconciliation for the sins of the people; brings them that were afar off nigh to God, and makes peace for them by the blood of his cross, by fulfilling the law, and satisfying justice for them; in consequence of this he appears for them in the court of heaven, intercedes and pleads for them, is their advocate, and sees that all covenant blessings, of which he is the Mediator, are applied unto them, and preserves their persons, which are committed to his care and charge, safe to everlasting happiness.

This Mediator is the man Christ. Make note that He is not a mere man, for he is truly and properly God; or that he is a Mediator only according to the human nature: it was proper indeed that he should be man, that he might have something to offer, and that he might be capable of obeying, suffering, and dying, and so of making satisfaction in the nature that had sinned; but then, had he not been God, he could not have drawn nigh to God on the behalf of men, and undertook for them, and much less have performed; nor would his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, have been available to cleanse from sin, to procure the pardon of it, justify from it, make atonement for it, or make peace with God: the reason why he is particularly mentioned as man, is, with a view to the argument in hand, praying for all men; since he who is the Mediator between God and man, has assumed a nature which is common to them all: and this Mediator is said to be one, not so much in opposition to other mediators, angels or saints departed, though it is a truth, and stands full against them, but with respect to men; there is but one Mediator between God and all sorts of men, through whom both Jews and Gentiles have an access to God, and peace with him

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 2:4

4 Who will that all men shall be saved, and come unto the acknowledging of the truth.

The salvation which God wills that all men should enjoy, is not a mere possibility of salvation, or a mere putting them into a salvable state; or an offer of salvation to them; or a proposal of sufficient means of it to all in his word; but a real, certain, and actual salvation, which he has determined they shall have; and is sure from his own appointment, from the provision of Christ as a Saviour for them, from the covenant of grace, in which everything is secured necessary for it, and from the mission of Christ to effect it, and from its being effected by him: wherefore the will of God, that all men should be saved, is not a conditional will, or what depends on the will of man, or on anything to be performed by him, for then none might be saved; and if any should, it would be of him that willeth, contrary to the express words of Scripture; but it is an absolute and unconditional will respecting their salvation, and which infallibly secures it: nor is it such a will as is distinguishable into antecedent and consequent; with the former of which it is said, God wills the salvation of all men, as they are his creatures, and the work of his hands; and with the latter he wills, or not wills it, according to their future conduct and behaviour; but the will of God concerning man's salvation is entirely one, invariable, unalterable, and unchangeable: nor is it merely his will of approbation or complacency, which expresses only what would be grateful and well pleasing, should it be, and which is not always fulfilled; but it is his ordaining, purposing, and determining will, which is never resisted, so as to be frustrated, but is always accomplished: the will of God, the sovereign and unfrustrable will of God, has the governing sway and influence in the salvation of men; it rises from it, and is according to it; and all who are saved God wills they should be saved; nor are any saved, but whom he wills they should be saved: hence by all men, whom God would have saved, cannot be meant every individual of mankind, since it is not his will that all men, in this large sense, should be saved, unless there are two contrary wills in God; for there are some who were before ordained by him unto condemnation, and are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and it is his will concerning some, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned; nor is it fact that all are saved, as they would be, if it was his will they should; for who hath resisted his will? but there is a world of ungodly men that will be condemned, and who will go into everlasting punishment: rather therefore all sorts of men, agreeably to the use of the phrase in ( 1 Timothy 2:1 ) are here intended, kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female, young and old, greater and lesser sinners; and therefore all are to be prayed for, even all sorts of men, because God will have all men, or all sorts of men, saved; and particularly the Gentiles may be designed, who are sometimes called the world, the whole world, and every creature; whom God would have saved, as well as the Jews, and therefore Heathens, and Heathen magistrates, were to be prayed for as well as Jewish ones. Moreover, the same persons God would have saved, he would have also come to the knowledge of the truth. of Christ, who is the truth, and to faith in him, and of all the truth of the Gospel, as it is in Jesus; not merely to a notional knowledge of it, which persons may arrive unto, and not be saved, but a spiritual and experimental knowledge of it; and all that are saved are brought to such a knowledge, which is owing to the sovereign will and good pleasure of God, who hides the knowledge of Gospel truths from the wise and prudent, and reveals them to babes: whence it appears, that it is not his will with respect to every individual of mankind; that they should thus come to the knowledge of the truth; for was it his will they should, he would, no doubt, give to every man the means of it, which he has not, nor does he; he suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, and overlooked their times of ignorance, and sent no message nor messenger to inform them of his will; he gave his word to Jacob, and his statutes unto Israel only; and the Gospel is now sent into one part of the world, and not another; and where it does come, it is hid to the most; many are given up to strong delusions to believe a lie, and few are savingly and experimentally acquainted with the truths of the Gospel; though all that are saved are brought to the knowledge of such truths as are necessary to salvation; for they are chosen to it through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
Chapter 1:1-2

Prayer to be Made for All

1 I Exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 For Kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life, in all godliness, and honesty.

For kings, and for all that are in authority For supreme governors, as the emperor of Rome, and kings of particular nations; and for all sub-governors, or inferior magistrates, as procurators or governors of provinces, and proconsuls, and the like; all that were in high places, and acted under the authority of those that were supreme; these are particularly mentioned, the then governors, whether supreme or subordinate, who were avowed enemies, and violent persecutors of the saints; and it might be a scruple with some of them, whether they should pray for them, and therefore the apostle enjoins it, And likewise for those of their own nation. that we may lead a quiet and peaceable which does not merely design the end of civil government by kings and magistrates, which is to preserve the peace and quiet of the commonwealth; to protect the persons and properties of men, that they may possess their own undisturbed; and to secure to them their civil and religious rights and liberties, that they may have the free use and exercise of religion, signified by "all godliness"; and to encourage morality and virtue, expressed by "honesty"; and so is an argument for prayer, taken from the advantage of civil government: nor does this clause only point out the duty of saints to live peaceably under the government they are, and not disturb it; to mind only their religious exercises among themselves, and behave honestly and morally among men, as they generally speaking are, the quiet in the land; but also expresses the thing to be prayed for; and the sense is, that since the hearts of kings are in the hands of the Lord, and he can turn them as he pleases, prayer should be made to him for them, that he would either convert them, and bring them to the knowledge of the truth, they now persecuted; or at least so dispose their hearts and minds, that they might stop the persecution, and so saints might live peaceably under them, enjoy their religious liberty, and be encouraged in their moral conversation. The Arabic version renders it, "that they may be preserved": that is, kings, and all in authority and life, in all godliness and honesty. We are to pray for the peace or safety of the kingdom even of the nations of the world, which is remarkable, and agrees with the exhortation of the apostle, for if there was no fear of that, men would devour one another alive.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Sermon
Receiving Rebukes and Reproofs in Meekness
Excerpt from A Discourse on Meekness
By Matthew Henry (Edited by RPW Sr.)

We must receive reproofs with meekness. If we do that which deserves rebuke, and meet with those that are so just and kind as to give it us, we must be quiet under it, not quarrelling with the reprover, nor objecting to the reproof, nor fretting that we are touched in a sore place; but submitting to it, and laying our souls under the conviction of it. If reproofs be physical it becomes us to be patient. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness," and an excellent oil, healing to the wounds of sin, and making the face to shine; and let us never reckon that it breaks the head, if it do but help to break the heart. Meekness suffers the word of admonition, and takes it patiently and thankfully, not only from the hand of God that sends it, but from the hand of our friend that brings it. We must not be like the reprobate Sodomites, or that or those from Exodus 2:14, that flew in the face of their reprovers, though really they were the best friends they had, with, "Who made thee a judge?" but like David, who, when Abigail so prudently scotched the wheels of his passion, not only blessed God that sent her, and blessed her advice, but blessed her: not only hearkened to her voice, but accepted her person. Though perhaps the reprover supposes the fault greater than really it was, and though the reproof be not given with all the prudence in the world, yet meekness will teach us to accept it quietly, and to make the best use we can of it. Nay, if indeed we be altogether innocent of that for which we are reproved, yet the meekness of wisdom would teach us to apply the reproof to some other fault of which our own consciences convict us: we would not quarrel with a real intended kindness, though not done with ceremony, and though in some circumstances mistaken or misplaced.

You that are in inferior relations—children, servants, scholars—must, with all meekness and submission, receive the reproofs of your parent, masters, and teachers; their age supposes them to have more understanding than you, and their place gives them an authority over you to which you are to pay a deference, and in which you are to acquiesce, else farewell all order and peace. The angel rebuked Hagar for flying from her mistress, though she dealt harshly with her, and obliged her to return and submit herself under her hands. "If the spirit of a ruler rise up against thee," and thou be chidden for a fault, "leave not thy place," as an inferior; for "yielding pacifieth great offences." "If thou hast thought evil, lay thy hand upon thy mouth" to keep that evil thought from breaking out in any undue and unbecoming language. Reproofs are likely to do us good when we meekly submit to them; they are "as an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold," when "an obedient ear" is given to a wise reprover. Nay, even superiors are to receive reproofs from their inferiors with meekness, as they would any other token of kindness and good will. Naaman, who turned away from the prophet in a rage, yet hearkened to the reproof his own servants gave him, and was overruled by the reason of it, which was no more a disparagement to him than it was to receive instruction from his wife's maid to whom to go for a cure of his leprosy. Meekness teaches us, when a just reproof is given, to regard not so much who speaks, as what is spoken.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
Chapter 1:18-20

18 This commandment commit I unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies, which went before upon thee, that thou by them shouldest fight a good fight, 19 Having faith and a good conscience, which some have put away, and as concerning faith, have made shipwreck. 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus, and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme.

Study Notes

The gospel is a charge committed to the ministers of it; it is committed to their trust, to see that it be duly applied according to the intent and meaning of it, and the design of its great Author. The ministry is a warfare, it is a good warfare against sin and Satan: and under the banner of the Lord Jesus, who is the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10 ), and in his cause, and against his enemies, ministers are in a particular manner engaged. Ministers must war this good warfare, must execute their office diligently and courageously, notwithstanding oppositions and discouragements.

We must hold both faith and a good conscience: Holding faith and a good conscience, Those that put away a good conscience will soon make shipwreck of faith. Let us live up to the directions of a renewed enlightened conscience, and keep conscience void of offense. A conscience not debauched by any vice or sin, and this will be a means of preserving us sound in the faith; we must look to the one as well a the other, for the mystery of the faith must be held in a pure conscience. Those who have put away a good conscience, and made shipwreck of faith, will not stick at any thing, blasphemy not excepted. Therefore let us hold faith and a good conscience, if we would keep clear of blasphemy; for, if we once let go our hold of these, we do not know where we shall stop.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 1:13

13 When before I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and an oppressor: but I was received to mercy: for I did it ignorantly through unbelief.

Herein Paul speaks upon his previous life, for as he had stated he was chief among sinners. Attacking the church, the body of Christ, as unto death. By so doing he was persecuting the Messiah Himself. However, God, demonstrated His infinite mercy and long suffering by taking this chief and making Him a man after His Own heart.

This writer is consistently amazed by such a transformation, and reflects upon it as to how it relates to himself. For if Paul a man whose zeal for persecution could be forgiven and used by God why not others including this writer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The First of the Apostle Paul to Timothy
Chapter 1:9

9 Knowing this, that the Law is not given unto a righteous man, but unto the lawless and disobedient, to the ungodly, and to sinners, to the unholy, and to the profane, to murderers of fathers and mothers, to manslayers,

No man is naturally righteous since Adam, excepting the man Christ Jesus: some that are righteous in their own opinion, and in the esteem of others, are not truly and really so; none are righteous, or can be justified in the sight of God by the works of the law; those only are righteous men, who are made so through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to them: and such a righteous man is here intended, who believes in Christ with the heart unto righteousness, who lays hold on Christ's righteousness, and receives it by faith; in consequence of which he lives soberly, righteously, and godly, though not without sin, since there is no such just man upon earth. Now for such a man the law was not made; which must be understood not of its original constitution and make, for it was certainly made for, and given to Adam, who was a righteous man, and was written upon his heart in a state of innocence; and who had a positive made also for him. Likewise in all this, the law was made for Jesus Christ; he was the end, the mark, and scope at which it aimed, and for whose sake it was given to Israel, that he might be made under it, and fulfill it. Nor does this expression deny all use of the law to a righteous man. All that are justified by Christ's righteousness, need it not for such a purpose, because they are already righteous; and sinners can never attain to righteousness by it, since it cannot give life unto them: it is made therefore not for the former with the view now mentioned, but for the latter, and that both for the restraining of sin, and punishing of sinners.

The law does not lie upon a righteous man, or against him. It does not lie as a weight or burden on him; its precept does not lie on him, as a task to be performed; nor does its penalty, the curse, lie on him as a punishment to be bore by him: it does not lie upon him, nor against him, as an accusing law, its mouth is stopped by the righteousness of Christ, by which he is denominated a righteous man; nor as a terrifying law, and bringing into bondage by its threats and menaces; nor as a rigorous law, obliging to obedience in a forcible and compulsive way; seeing there is no need of it, the righteous man delights in it, and cheerfully serves it, and the love of Christ constrains him to obey it freely. And much less does it lie on him, or against him as a cursing or condemning law, since Christ has redeemed him from the curse of it.

However the Law was given for the lawless and disobedient; by the "lawless" are meant, not the Gentiles, which were without the written law, but such who have it, and despise and reject it, and live not according to it, but transgress it: and "the disobedient" design such who are not subject to it: who are sons of Belial, children without the yoke; who cast the law of the Lord behind their backs; who are not, nor can they be subject to it, without the powerful and efficacious grace of God. Now the law lies upon, and against such persons, as an accusing, terrifying, cursing, and condemning law. It is for the ungodly and sinners and are intended, such as are without God in the world, who neither fear God, nor regard man, who neglect and despise the worship of God, and say to him, depart from us, ( Job 21:14 Job 21:15 ) and by "sinners" are designed notorious ones, who are exceeding great sinners, always sinning, making sin their constant business and employment; on and against these the law lies. It is for the unholy and profane who are destitute of inward principles of truth and holiness, and who live unholy lives and conversations; and "profane" persons are those who profane the name of the Lord by cursing and swearing, and who profane his day, doctrines, and ordinances, and live dissolute and profane lives, being abandoned to all sin and wickedness.

In all, the Law condemns all those who have yet to confess Christ as their Redeemer from the Law, which rightly convicts under God’s standards of righteousness. Yet be not deceived yourselves, for while your confessions may be made by the mouth it is the heart that God views. True redemption comes from Christ, however it is still the individual that must now endeavor to live within the guidelines of that righteousness.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Sermon

Correction with the Gentle Hand
(From His Discourse on Meekness)
By Matthew Henry (Edited by RPW Sr.)

We must give reproofs with meekness. It is the apostle's direction, "If a man be overtaken in a fault," that is, if he be surprised by a temptation and overcome, as the best may be, if God leave them to themselves, "ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness." By the spiritual man, to whom he gives this rule, he means not ministers only; doubtless it is a rule to private Christians: all that have opportunity must reprove, and all that reprove must do it with meekness. Ye that are spiritual, if you would approve yourselves so indeed, actuated by the Holy Spirit, and minding the things of the Spirit, be careful in this matter. Especially let those that are Christians of the highest form, that excel in grace and holiness and the best gifts—such are called spiritual, in distinction from babes in Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:1—let them look upon themselves as obliged, in a more peculiar manner, to help others; for where God gives five talents, he expects the improvement of five; the strong must bear the infirmities of the weak. The setting of a dislocated joint or a broken bone is, for the present, painful to the patient; but it must be done, and it is in order to the making of broken bones to rejoice. Now this you must do with the spirit of meekness, with all the candor and gentleness and convincing evidences of love and kindness that can be. The three qualifications of a good surgeon are very requisite in a reprover: namely, to have an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand; that is, to be endued with a great deal of wisdom and courage and meekness. Though sometimes it is needful to reprove with warmth, yet we must never reprove with wrath, "for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:19-21; Romans 10:3

Christ's ministers must be careful, while they display God's wrath, to conceal their own; and be very jealous over themselves, lest sinful anger shelter itself under the cloak of zeal 1 Peter 2:16 against sin. When reproving—whoever be the reprover—degenerates into railing and reviling and opprobrious language, how can we expect the desired success? It may provoke to contention and to every evil work, but it will never provoke to love and to good works. The work of heaven is not likely to be done by a tongue set on fire of hell. Has Christ need of madmen? or will you talk deceitfully and passionately for him? A potion given too hot, scalds the patient, and does more hurt than good; and so many a reproof, good for the matter of it, has been spoiled by an irregular management. Meekness hides the lancet, gilds the pill, and makes it passable; dips the nail in oil, and then it drives the better. Twice we find Jonathan reproving his father for his rage against David; once he did it with meekness: "Let not the king sin against his servant"—against David and it is said, "Saul hearkened to him." But another time his spirit was provoked: "Wherefore shall he be slain?" and the issue of it was ill. Saul was not only impatient of the reproof, but enraged at the reprover, and cast a javelin at him. Reproofs are likely to answer the intention when they manifestly evidence the good will of the reprover, and are made up of soft words and hard arguments; this is to "restore with the spirit of meekness," and there is a good reason added, "considering thyself;" he may fall to-day, I may to-morrow. Those who think they stand fast, know not how soon they may be shaken and overthrown, and therefore we must treat those that are overtaken in a fault, with the same tenderness and compassion that we would wish to find, if it were our own case. Luke 6:42