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Heaven Taken by Storm (eBook)

BY THOMAS WATSON

IN EPUB.MOBI & .PDF FORMATS

Many modern Christians view the Christian life as one of ease and worldly blessings. Building on Jesus's words that "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12),  the Puritans saw it, rather, as warfare, as wrestling, as "holy violence" against one's own self, against Satan, the world, and even heaven. We are called to take up the full armor of God in our daily battles. 

As Watson puts it, "Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way." In his typically heart-searching style, replete with practical illustrations and gripping remarks, Watson describes how the Christian is to take the kingdom of heaven by holy violence through the reading and exposition of Scripture, prayer, meditation, self-examination, conversation, and the sanctification of the Lord's Day. Soldiers of Christ will find this a practical handbook on Christian living.

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Table of Contents 

Introduction: Taking Heaven by Violence

Offering Violence to Ourselves

The Christian Must offer Violence to Satan

The Christian Must Offer Violence to Heaven

Arrows of Reproof and Apostasy

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 17:21 -- john_hendryx

The Lord is My Portion

by Thomas Manton

That which a man would make his portion, it must be sufficient to supply all his wants, that he may have enough to live upon. Now, saith the Lord, 'I am God all-sufficient,' Gen. 17:1; sufficient for the necessities of this life, and that which is to come. He is the fountain of all blessings, spiritual, temporal, eternal; not only their power for ever, but their portion for ever, satisfied with him now and in the life to come: Ps. 142:5, 'Thou art my portion, O Lord, in the land of the living.' They expect all from him; not only peace and righteousness, grace and glory, but food, maintenance, defence, to bear them out in his work. The creature is but God's instrument, or as an empty pipe, unless God flow in by it. If God help them not, the creature cannot help them. These are streams that have water only so long as the spring fills them. Well, then, here is a portion that is every way sufficient. All other portions are accompanied with a want, but this alone sufficeth all. Some things give health, wealth, but not peace; some things give peace, but not honour. But God is all to us—health, wealth, peace, honour, grace, and glory: 'All things are yours, because you are Christ's, and Christ is God's,' so runs the Christian charter; there is omne bonum in summo bono—all things in the chiefest good. So Rev. 21:7, 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things.' How so? 'For I will be his God.' He that hath God hath him that hath power and command of all things, and therefore shall inherit all things, 'For I will be his God.' And that is the reason of the apostle's riddle, 2 Cor. 6:10, 'As having nothing, yet possessing all things;' that is, all things in God, when they have nothing in the creature.

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 20:23 -- john_hendryx

Providence

by W. G. T. Shedd

"God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful, preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions" (Westminster Larger Catechism 18). Preservation and government are the two functions in the eternal providence of God. They presuppose creation. Preservation is described in Heb. 1:3 as an "upholding." The Son of God "upholds all things by the word of his power." Nothing that is created ex nihilo is self-sustaining. Consequently, it must be sustained in being. It would not require a positive act of omnipotence, antithetic to that exerted in creation from nothing, in order to annihilate created existences. Simple cessation to uphold would result in annihilation. For to suppose that matter, for example, could persist in being after the withdrawal of God's preserving power, with such an intensity as to necessitate a direct act of omnipotence to annihilate it, would imply that matter has self-existence and self-continuance. But this is an attribute that is incommunicable to the creature. This is true of finite mind, as well as of matter. Created spiritual substance is not immortal because it has self-subsistence imparted to it by the Creator, but because he intends to uphold and sustain it in being forever:

When we speak of the soul as created naturally immortal, we mean that it is by divine pleasure created such a substance as not having in itself any composition or other particles of corruption will naturally or of itself continue forever, that is, will not by any natural decay or by any power of nature be dissolved or destroyed; but yet nevertheless depends continually upon God, who has power to destroy or annihilate it if he should think fit (Clarke, Letter to Dodwell).

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 18:22 -- john_hendryx

The 90-Foot Tidal Wave

In our cultural moment, emotions and sincerity have displaced logic and truth. The consequence of abandoning objective morality is that when faced with real problems in the world we will never arrive at actual solutions. The predicaments we now face have become so enormous that it is like standing on the beach before a 90 foot tidal wave. There is nothing you can do to stop it. But, thanks be to God, you can stay in the "ark" (Christ) and let Him buoy you up in the midst of the flood. And then, armed with the gospel, we can all help pull to safety the many whose lives have been wrecked by the falsehoods.

 

Sat, 01/30/2021 - 13:14 -- john_hendryx

How to Bear Afflictions

by Willliam Bates

"My son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him." - HEBREWS 12:5

Secondly. I SHALL proceed to prove, it is the best wisdom not to despise God's chastenings, nor faint under them. I will not insist upon the consideration that it is the counsel of the supreme wisdom to us, nor that it is the avoiding the vicious extremes, which is the chiefest point of moral prudence: but it is the only way to prevent the greatest mischiefs that will otherwise befal us. It is said, he that is wise is profitable to himself, that is either in obtaining good, or preventing evils. Now it will appear how pernicious those extremes are, by considering; Job. 22:21.

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:20 -- john_hendryx

Unrest and Civil Religion

If a professing Christian believed they may be unable to pay for their rent this month would it be appropriate for them to ask God to give them a sign as to whether or not they should rob a bank?

If a man saw a beautiful woman who was not his wife, would it be appropriate for him to pray to God to ask him whether or not he should commit adultery with her?  

Likewise, a Christian has no business asking God whether he should incite in a riot, vandalize public property, or participate in an insurrection. 

That such actions are not an option for the Christian should be painfully obvious.  We are never to base on actions on our feelings of injustice, or upon some supposed extra biblical communication from God, but upon Scripture.  Christianity is based on revealed truth, and it should not be up for question as to whether we should engage in said sinful activities.  God does not tell his followers to do things that He has already expressly told them not to.  Do you mean to be pagans under a Christian name, or Christians indeed?  You have but the name only if you trust in your feelings or in supposed personal revelations, if they contradict the word of God. 

Christ’s disciples sit loose from the world, because, however providence may fall out, the Kingdom of God is never a risk.  All things are to be done orderly and legally in respect and honor to the civil magistrate, even if you think what he/she does may be unjust. We are to seek the common good, be patient and listen to viewpoints we sharply disagree with and then deliberate or discuss differences reasonably. Only if the government orders you to stop preaching the gospel, or do something that expressly violates God’s law, are we to peacefully resist. 

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Westminster Confression 20.4: 

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 17:14 -- john_hendryx

True Believers: Upright in Principle

BY WILHELMUS A BRAKEL

True believers are principally upright, for:

(1) Have spiritual light and life, are partakers of the divine nature, and Jesus has been formed within them.

(2) They perceive their wrongdoings, are grieved over them, confess them, by faith seek forgiveness in the blood of Christ, and do battle against them.

(3) They are concerned about this, since they mistrust their hearts and become conscious of their corrupt impulses.They bring their heart before the Lord and pray, ―Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Ps 139:23-24).

(4) This is true in a general and universal sense of the word as far as matters, time, and place are concerned; they make no exception whatsoever. Regardless of whether they fall more into the one sin than the other, it is nevertheless contrary to their intent and the wishes of their heart; it grieves them. Yes, in secret they are much more upright than they are in the presence of men, and their heart is even more upright in principle than it is in its manifestation. They can and dare say to the Lord: ―With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments. Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Ps
119:10, 128).

All these matters are true evidences of uprightness. With this, believers may support and comfort themselves when they, due to detecting so much deficiency within themselves, are concerned as to whether or not they are upright. Nevertheless, they must humble themselves over their eficiencies and transgressions. 

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Tue, 01/12/2021 - 18:55 -- john_hendryx

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