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The Rule of the Believer’s Life

These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 24 September 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the Gospel Law—the rule for the believer’s life is the Law of Christ, not the Heart Law or Moral Law (Ten Commandments).

An excerpt: “Given the importance of the subject, I will not rush through the teaching. I will therefore look only at the Province of Gospel Law in this study. What is the province of the Gospel Law? In a nutshell, there is a Heart Law and a Gospel Law—and each belongs to a restricted province. The Heart Law never trespasses into the province of the Gospel Law, and the Gospel Law never trespasses into the province of the Heart Law. To better explain this matter, I will gather my thoughts under four headings…”

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These are notes (with amendments) of a sermon preached on Sunday 1 October 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the significance of the twofold message of the Bible—the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace.

In his farewell speech to the bishops at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul divided his counsel under two headings: First, a review of his labours and ministry (Acts 20:17-27); Second, a charge to the bishops at Ephesus (Acts 20:28-35). Looking only at the review of his labours and ministry (Acts 20:17-27), Paul reminded the bishops of his past labours at Ephesus—“Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.” (Acts 20:17-19) He also informs them of his future labours at Jerusalem—“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the…

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 1 October 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the principle of the Gospel Law explained by the Apostle Paul.

A minister of the gospel should accommodate himself to the customs and conventions of those to whom he is sent. Even as an ambassador must be diplomatic in his relations with a foreign country, so the ambassador for Christ must with tactfulness and sensitivity preach the Word of God to sinners. As described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, this was how he conducted his preaching ministry…

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 8 October 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the principle of the Gospel Law explained by the Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been established by the teachings of the Apostle Paul, that the Principle of the Gospel Law can be reduced to three words—LIFE IN CHRIST. In Romans 8:2, the Apostle Paul called it “the law of the spirit [new nature] of life in Christ Jesus”. As the Gospel Law is called the “Law of Christ” (1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2), and since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Covenant Head for His people, it is appropriate to hear what Christ Himself says about His Law. To that end, I have selected three passages from the Gospel According to John. The golden thread woven throughout each text is LIFE IN CHRSIT. Jesus uses three analogies…

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Two Kingdoms

26 Sep 2017, by Jared Smith

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These are notes of a portion of a sermon preached on Sunday 8 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is that of the two kingdoms.

The first two studies on the Gospel Law were designed to show the dividing lines between the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. Unless these Covenants be clearly distinguished and the jurisdiction of each province be strictly applied, then all types of confusion ensues on many levels of doctrine and practice. Reference was then made in the previous study to the kingdom of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3:3,5) As the kingdom of God is one of the provinces I was speaking about in the first two studies, and Jesus distinguishes between it and the kingdom of this world, it seems appropriate to provide an overview of both kingdoms. There is a sharp division between these kingdoms:

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 15 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is the precepts of the Gospel Law.

Having looked at the province and principle of the Gospel Law, we now turn to the precepts. A precept is “a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought”. The Heart Law has two precepts (commandments)—to love God supremely and one’s neighbor as one’s self. The Moral Law (Ten Commandments) is a special application of the Heart Law for the nation of Israel, and it obviously has ten precepts. However, since the regenerate sinner’s rule for life is the Gospel Law, three questions arise—First, are the precepts of the Gospel Law in opposition to the Heart Law? Second, how many precepts are there in the Gospel Law? Third, what are the precepts of the Gospel Law?

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 22 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is the personal precepts of the Gospel Law.

As I mentioned in the previous study, there are several ways the precepts of the Gospel Law could be catalogued. I have chosen to select the threefold category of Gospel precepts given by James in the first chapter of his epistle, the twenty-seventh verse:

James 1:27: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

This text arranges the Gospel precepts under the following categories:

1. The God-ward Precepts of the Gospel Law—“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father…”

2. The Relational Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…”

3. The Personal Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Now, rather than beginning with the God-ward precepts or the relational precepts, I feel it is in our best interest to begin with the personal precepts. I say this, because if the believer has no rule over his own soul, then he is like a city that is broken down, and without walls (Prov 25:28). Indeed, if he lacks the personal discipline of keeping his own heart with all diligence (Prov 4:23), then how will he hope to be faithful in those precepts that relate to God and others?

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 22 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is the personal precepts of the Gospel Law.

If the believer is to keep himself unspotted from the world (Js 1:27), then he must learn how to govern his own soul. Otherwise, he will be like a city that is broken down, and without walls (Prov 25:28). If the believer lacks the personal discipline to keep his own heart with all diligence (Prov 4:23), then he will experience spiritual declension and suffer a backslidden condition. It is for this reason we have been looking into the two natures that reside in the believer’s soul. Thus far, we have considered (1) the names given to the two natures; (2) the leading characteristics of the two natures; (3) the dividing lines between the two natures. In this study, I wish to open up (4) the bitter conflict between the two natures and (5) the prescribed treatment of the two natures.

However, before looking at the bitter conflict, allow me to answer a common objection that is brought against this teaching:

OBJECTION: If there are two natures residing in the soul, then doesn’t this mean the believer will suffer from a multiple personality disorder?

No, not at all. First, the scriptures distinguish…

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 29 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is the God-ward precepts of the Gospel Law.

In a single statement, James reduces the precepts of the Gospel Law under three headings:

1. The God-ward Precepts of the Gospel Law—“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father…”

2. The Relational Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…”

3. The Personal Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Having looked more closely at the personal precepts of the Gospel Law, we now turn our attention to the God-ward precepts.

When the precepts of the Gospel Law were introduced (see the seventh study), I enumerated several God-ward precepts without making further comment. My only purpose in that study was show that the believer is given certain responsibilities towards God. I wish now to expand the list, but as it is only my intention to highlight the precepts, I will not provide a commentary for each text. This I will leave for the believer to explore…

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 29 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is the relational precepts of the Gospel Law. These notes are more than 14,000 words in length (Paul’s Epistle to the church in Rome is just under 10,000 words). The size is attributed to every scripture reference quoted in full. Although my commentary is relatively short, yet I have provided a fairly extensive outline for the various duties of the believer.

As pointed in the introduction to the Gospel precepts (seventh study), James appears to be establishing a baseline from which the believer’s pure and undefiled walk with God may be measured. He is not restricting pure and undefiled religion to visit ONLY the fatherless and widows in their affliction. Rather, he is showing that if the believer is ready to communicate with those in their worst condition, then that is the starting point that ensures he will communicate with others in their best condition. Henceforth, with one statement, James is able to show how the believer is responsible to walk with others on all levels of society. I have arranged the relational precepts within the context of four social circles—(1) The Believer’s Duty towards the World; (2) The Believer’s Duty towards the Government; (3) The Believer’s Duty Towards the Church; (4) The Believer’s Duty towards the Family. The first social circle is the widest, for it encompasses everyone the believer may come into contact with on a global level. The second social circle is the next widest, for it involves the believer’s duty towards those in authority within a specific country or region. The third social circle is more narrow, for it is restricted to those that belong as members to the same church. The fourth circle is the most narrow, for it includes only those belonging to the believer’s family. Let us begin with the widest social circle—the believer’s duty towards the world.

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