GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY 

The word sovereign means chief or highest; supreme in power; superior in position to all others. God is Spirit, self-existent, immutable, changeless, infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and holy. When we become God’s children, we tend to play God and look at the sin and all the terrible things in everyone around us especially in our Christian brothers and sisters. We tend to always ask the question, ‘Why doesn’t the Lord do anything to His disobedient people?’ or, ‘Why doesn’t He see what his people are doing in the world that He created?’ The answer for that is not found in human wisdom for the heart is terribly wicked. (Jer 17:9) (Job 25:6) (Ps 118:8)

Charles H. Spurgeon says “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength”. That statement is so true; I myself have the tendency to do just that. I worry and judge the earth and say “God do you see what your people are doing? Hurry up and do something about it!” We can learn a great deal from the prophet Habakkuk. We are given insight into what he was going through and how he dealt with his burden (Hab 1:1-4) when the people that God chose to receive the promised land (Gen 12:1-3) (Deut 7:6-7) (Ex 19:5) were living a wicked and disobedient life.

When Christians get to the point in their Christian walk of not understanding circumstances and wanting answers, there is only one Person to whom we can turn. He is the One who is capable of answering any question we might have: He is God the creator of the heavens and the earth, (Gen 1:1) (Ps 19:4) (Is 42:5) (Rev 4:11) the Holy and perfect deity of the triune God. He holds the foundations of the earth in his hand and is the ruler of all things. We as Christians tend to forget that we are here for His good pleasure not the other way around. Often, in difficult times or when we want something we have the tendency to want results NOW! We have the opinion that our ideas or plans are so much better than the sovereign Lord, because we don’t want to wait on God’s timing. When we fall this way, scripture instructs us to go to Him in prayer. (Is 55:6) (Phil 4:6) (Ps 5:2)

This is exactly what Habakkuk did. He took the burden he had for the people and his knowledge of the terrible events that were going to take place in Judah, to the Holy One (Hab 1:12). As Habakkuk waited in the watch tower (Hab 2:1) to see the results of God’s righteousness, he was reminded that sin in the eyes of the Lord will not go unpunished. The Lord sees all sin as an abomination and He will judge in His timing not ours. (Deut 9:7) (Job 37:13) (Eccl 3:17). Even through all His divine righteous judgment of sin, we are still reminded of God’s mercy and the grace that He bestows upon all people who will call on the name of the Lord Jehovah. Habakkuk is reminded in chapter two in verse four that “...the just shall live by his faith”. It is a great comfort to me and for all other believers around the world to know that we have a God who will not only judge each person perfectly, but He will show unlimited grace to the children who look to Christ Crucified as Saviour.

Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I don’t think before I act or speak, and that usually gets me into a lot of trouble. When that happens, my beautiful wife will say to me “You put your foot in your mouth again, didn’t you, Peter?” Oh how that rings such truth! I’m always wanting to be that self-righteous, prideful Christian (Hab 2:5) (Prov 30:12) (Luke 11:39-44) (Is 64:6) (Rom 10:3) who wants to execute God’s wrath and condemnation on fellow believers. By doing this, I’m only being a disobedient servant (Titus 1:16) (Eph 2:2) and not being the servant who is supposed to show others grace, mercy and especially love. (Rom 15:2) (Col 3:16) (Pro 11:30) (Rom 14:1) In order to accomplish this, I need to understand my error and remind myself that through prayer (Matt 7:7) (Mark 11:25) and walking by faith, I will be led to knowledge. Habakkuk also had to learn to be patient, obedient and to faithfully wait on God to do His sovereign work. Which He had planned to happen, In His own time!

Jonathan Edwards said “A true love for God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any attribute: for no other attribute is truly without this”. What an amazing God we serve! I am in awe every day that our God could forgive me of all my wicked sin. It is this sin that only brought pain to the One who would suffer the punishment for the whole world: Christ Jesus. He is the One who loved me first before I loved him. (1 Pet 2:25) (John 10:11-15) (Rom 3:25)

All things that God chooses to put in your path are there for you to learn something of His great will for you. Sometimes he will also use circumstances that are difficult when He wants to chasten you back to the place where you were found: broken and in need of His grace. (Ps 86:15) (Heb 12:6) (Is 26:16) (Job 5:17) The majesty of God is so perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing, (Deut 32:4) (Ps 29:3-5) (Job 26:14) which is why we need to walk by faith and trust that God’s plan is always perfect even when we don’t understand it. This is why we can learn so much from Habakkuk; we are able to see a picture of his problem and how the Lord used that situation to show him what to do. Then I could see Habakkuk being transformed and praising God (Hab 3:3-6) for all His mercy and marvellous grace that he shows his chosen children of Israel. John Piper says “The climax of God’s happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of His people”. We need to look at the LORD Jehovah with reverence and praise (Prov 9:10) (Ps 96:6) (Jude 1:25) (Rev 5:12) for He is the Ruler of the universe and He honors a humble servant who lives with obedience and faithful praise to Him the “God of this World”. He had made a covenant promise with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and then God promised a Son who would come and bear the sins for all mankind (Isa 7:14; 53:1-12) (Zech 9:9). He is truthful (Rom 8:28-29) in everything He said He was going to do. The scripture assures us of this because the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (2 Tim 3:16-17). Remember when you get to the point of exasperation and doubt that you will never fully understand what God is doing. Submit in obedience to him and go to Him through prayer because He holds all the answers. That’s why I am the created and He is the Sovereign Creator of the universe.

  

Merry Christmas with love, Pastor Mike

 

How to Develop Your Spiritual Discernment

By Dustin Benge

We carry the world in our pocket. From international news agencies to social media platforms, we’re endlessly besieged with bytes of stories, political commentary, cultural opinion, conspiracies, blogs, and the ever-maddening notification ping of breaking news. A staggering 3.5 billion people on our planet have been identified as users and consumers of this assortment of media. In fact, most of us will spend an average of three hours every day engaging with this unrelenting barrage of information.

Over the past several months, we’ve seen how quickly news and social media can elicit fear, provoke anger, and fuel movements. This information overload is sometimes more than we can bear and has sent believers and unbelievers alike spiraling into despair and hopelessness as we’re simply trying to discern what to believe.

Throughout Scripture, believers are repeatedly cautioned to maintain a sharpened awareness of the difference between truth and error. Paul implored the Thessalonian church: “Test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21–22). Similarly, Paul encouraged the Ephesians to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:10–11). Therefore, spiritual discernment is not optional for the believer but is a clearly commanded necessity for proper Christian living. However, many believers have never been adequately instructed regarding how to develop truly biblical spiritual discernment. Such instruction is vital in the information surplus of our day.

Desire Wisdom

Our desire for spiritual discernment is directly related, at a deeper level, to our desire for wisdom. This type of wisdom is to be searched for, longed for, and pursued by every believer. In the opening sentence of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin said, “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” Calvin reminds us that to receive true wisdom, and therefore the spiritual ability to discern, begins with a right knowledge of our Creator. No doubt he would have had Proverbs 9:10 in mind: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The current inability to determine truth from error finds its origin in a fundamental lack of understanding of the holiness and glory of the triune God and the sinful depravity of man.

Like a father speaking to his son, the writer of Proverbs implores, “If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:3–5). Wisdom is more important than finding buried treasure and should be sought after with greater vehemence than all the fine jewels in the earth (Matt. 13:44–45). For at its heart is the treasure of God Himself and without Him we fail miserably at discerning the “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Know Truth

In an age of scrutinizing everything as “fake news,” truth seems a rare commodity. A second characteristic for one who desires proper spiritual discernment is to know the truth. In other words, everything we analyze must be viewed through the lens of truth––God’s Word. Paul instructed young Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted to you” (1 Tim. 6:20) and “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Tim. 1:13–14). Paul uses military language here to heighten the importance of what has been given to our charge. Every believer is called to know the truth of God’s Word to such a degree that we maintain a defensive position against everything that undermines His truth or seeks to violate it in any way.

Any survey of believers makes it devastatingly obvious that many do not know the truth and therefore are defenseless against the increasing onslaught of error. One way to correct this deficiency is to examine our daily intake of Scripture. Are you filling your mind and heart with God’s Word to such a degree that it begins to spring to remembrance as you scroll through social media or turn on the news? Is your first reaction fear, dread, and hopelessness, or is your first reaction the calm reassurance of our Lord: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27)? Knowing the truth sets us free from the shackles of worldly virtues and unburdens us to enjoy the glorious guarantee that God is sovereign and controls all things. The truth that has been “entrusted” to us must be known, both in mind and heart, in order to be spiritually discerning in an age of error.

Test Everything

A third component in growing our spiritual discernment is to learn to test everything. Combating issues of falsehood and error within the church, John gives clear instruction to his readers in 1 John 4:1: “Test the spirits.” The word test is a fascinating word in the New Testament and comes from the word that means “the testing of the strength of metal.” In other words, this type of discernable testing requires fire––the fire of our knowledge of God and the knowledge of His Word. If we’re driven by a yearning for cultural acceptance or a comfortable go-along-to-get-along attitude, we will never be discerning people. Never subjugate your minds to the media of this age and blindly be led in paths laid for us by the enemy of our souls. John MacArthur aptly said, “Unless we are willing to examine all things carefully, we cannot hope to have any defense against reckless faith.” Only in careful scrutiny will we be able to discern light from darkness.

Our growth in spiritual discernment depends on our desire for wisdom, knowledge of the truth, and a willingness to test absolutely everything through the lens of that wisdom and truth. So, the next time you begin to scroll through myriads of bits of information, your growth in discernment will determine if your hope is anchored in the solid rock of Christ or the shifting sand of this world.

 




Our ultimate desire at Calvary Baptist Church is first and foremost to bring glory and praise to the Sovereign LORD [Father, Son, & Holy Spirit] and to raise up mature believers so that we can fulfill the Great Commission. We will seek to achieve this by following the guidelines that God has put in place for prayer, worship, communion, Christian fellowship, Bible Study, and most of all the expository teaching of God’s Word.  We desire to provide the proper teaching of God’s Word so that fellow believers can grow together and edify one another with love and compassion.  

Please come join us,
as we look into how God has composed a unique story
for each of our lives.

CBC is a place to call home as we ......
Magnify the Lord, Mature the Believers, 
Make prayer a priority, Meet the lost with Christ

Masks must be worn at all times
Church Service Time @ 9:30am.

We now broadcast on 97.5FM in your car or home, for those who are unable to come in person.

We do encourgage you to attend if possible first!

NO! Adult Bible Study:  Ladies & Mens Wednesday nights @ 6:30pm until the New Year. (TBA)


We are located @
148 Queen Street,
Killaloe Ontario
613-757-1618 
 


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