Scriptures Jeremiah

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A Personal Revival Needed

Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker [17 August 1791 - 10 December 1857]Every Christian worker should have an experience like that of Daniel Baker.

In the thirty-ninth year of his life and ministry, the twelfth year of his pastoral ministry, he felt a dryness in his soul, which was evidenced by a lack of fruitfulness in his ministry.

So he went not to the philosophers of his day, nor to the Christian counselors, nor to any self-help guru, but rather to God Himself.  Going into the woods on August 10, 1830 near his house in Savannah, Georgia, he came to a cemetery. Entering it, finding a tree near a brick tomb, he began to cry to God for revival.

Returning to his congregation, he held a congregational prayer meeting in which he requested  the members of that church to write notes for whom prayer might be especially desirable.  Forty-six notes were returned to him, all of them desiring the regeneration either of themselves or others of their families.  Dr. Baker added a note that  he might be given a love for the souls of lost men and women, with the result that there be a successful ministry in his labors for Christ.

Following up this spiritual exercise were a series of meetings, sometimes upwards to three sermons per day being preached.  The outpouring of God’s regenerating Spirit  was such that 250 individuals professed Christ as Savior and were led into God’s kingdom.  In addition, the work of grace went through the entire city of Savannah, Georgia.

That work of grace continued in other parts of Georgia, as revival swept the whole coastlands of the state. Multitudes of people came into the kingdom.  Eight of the converts became ministers of the gospel.   Dr. Baker went into full-time evangelistic work.  It would be noted that in the two years after this event, some 2500 people acknowledged Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  It all started with a personal day of reflection and prayer.  Think about it a moment.  Could not all of us need such a day as this?  Oh, we need not find a lonely cemetery in the country, but rather some place where we would not be interrupted and could commune with the Lord God of heaven and earth.  Look at your life.  Are you satisfied that you are  having the kind of spiritual influence on your family, church, work, and society that you could be  having?  If that answer is in the negative, why not plan such a day right now, set it aside, and pray for a personal revival in your soul.

 

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

 It Wasn’t a Church Split But an Exodus

The high court of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. was on a roll. Any and all teaching elders, including some laypeople, who had been involved in the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions were being disciplined by the respective courts of the church. Presbyteries had convicted the men of refusing to obey the Mandate of 1934, which ordered them to cease and desist from any connection with this upstart mission board. Appeals had been made and denied from presbyteries, synods, and general assembly. Now sentences of deposition from the ministry had gone out to men like J. Gresham Machen, Charles Woodbridge, Ed Rian, Paul Woolley, H. McAllister Griffiths, Merrill McPherson, Carl McIntire, and David K Myers, suspending them from their ordinations.

One of the few supporters of the Independent Board, and one who had been on the board of the mission board himself, was the Rev. Dr. Roy Talmadge Brumbaugh, pastor of the Tacoma, Washington Presbyterian Church U.S.A.   He saw what was coming, especially when the Presbytery of Olympia began to demand that all Session and Congregational records of the church be given to them.  The liberals had begun to investigate the church.  Dr. Brumbaugh met unofficially with his session of elders and deacons.  After much discussion, the hearts and minds of the officers was to leave the denomination.  On that following Sunday,  Dr. Brumbaugh led his church and most of the  five hundred members in it, directly across the alley into a large Scottish Rite Cathedral available to them to worship on August 20, 1935.

One of the people commented that “it wasn’t a church split.  It was an exodus.”  Fourteen of twenty-four ruling elders left the USA church.  Forty-nine of fifty-six deacons walked out.  Twenty-three of twenty-five women society leaders left.  Eleven of thirteen Sunday School superintendents joined the new church.  Every Systematic Bible Study teachers, except one, walked across the alley to the new “church” building.  Almost all of the youth, along with the Young People’s leader put their hand to the spiritual plow.  In fact, nine young people who had committed their lives to Christ’s service joined the exodus.  Oh, and most of the choir left, and five of the seven branch Sunday School missions withdrew.  It was such a division that the remnant in the Presbyterian U.S.A. church appealed to other Presbyterian local churches to send them members so that they would have a church service the following Sunday.  The church would initially be called the First Independent Church of Tacoma, Washington.  Who was this man who led them out of apostasy?

Roy Brumbaugh was born April 15, 1890 in Pipersville, Pennsylvania.   Trained at Princeton Seminary from 1916 – 1919, he had studied under the feet of men like Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, John Davis, William Benton Green, Geerhardus Vos, Robert Dick Wilson, Caspar Wistar Hodge, Oswald  Allis, and John Gresham Machen.  Ordained by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1919, Brumbaugh was the pastor of three Presbyterian churches until he went to the First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, Washington in 193

The church in Tacoma later became known as the First Bible Presbyterian Church, Unaffiliated. And while it joined in the later associations of the Bible Presbyterian Church of the American and International Council of Christian Churches, it eventually did join the Bible Presbyterian Synod.  In 1947, Dr. Brumbaugh was the moderator of the Tenth General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian church, which met in Tacoma that year.

Over the years, the congregation has had a unique ministry to the servicemen from various military installations, winning many of America’s finest to Christ, and leading them into the ministry.

Rev. Roy Brumbaugh went to be with the Lord on January 3, 1957.  The church is still affiliated with the Bible Presbyterian Church.

Words to live by: Unusual times call for unusual means.  While we may look back and question his independent status at that time, we can well understand the hesitancy to join immediately a new denomination.  And yet others of sound faith and judgment were not hesitant, believing that one of the glories of the Presbyterian church is its connectionalism.  He was certainly used of God’s Spirit in winning countless servicemen to the gospel, and sending many on their way into gospel ministry itself.

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah 50 – 52

Through the Standards:  Object of worship

WCF 21:2
“Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:   

A Calvinistic Evangelist

Imagine your mother dying when you were an infant.  Then imagine your father dying when you were only eight years of age.  How difficult your upbringing would be.  In the case of little Daniel Baker, who was born on August 17, 1791, he could only look with sadness at his playmates who had loving parents to watch over them.  But Daniel  had a heavenly Father who watched over  him and was preparing him for great things in the kingdom of God.

Reared by a godly aunt, Daniel came to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior around 14 years of age.  Soon afterwards, he felt the call to be a preacher of the Word.  Receiving an offer of a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College, he made a public profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church.  His spiritual attainments affected his fellow students there as well as at Princeton University to which he transferred.

Upon graduation, he was interested in enrolling at the Seminary, but instead placed his education under the Rev. William Hill of Winchester, Virginia.  While there was much lacking in this overseership, his self-study in the Westminster Shorter Catechism brought him to the place where the local Presbytery ordained him to the gospel ministry.

One of his greatest blessing was a godly wife in Elizabeth McRobert, who bore him several children as well as helping him in his ministry.  He started his ministry as a pastor, but usually revival broke out under him.  Thousands came to the Lord, not only from the local church, but from those around the church.   He decided to become a full time evangelist.

It must be remembered that Daniel Baker was a Calvinist evangelist.  He didn’t resort to producing the right emotional effect, but simply preached the whole counsel of God.  And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved.

The last part of his ministry took place in Texas from 1850 on.  There he preached the same gospel, with the same effects.  He died in 1857.

Words to live by:  Before Daniel Baker passed away, he called  his son to make sure that the epigraph on the tombstone read clearly, “Here lies Daniel Baker, Preacher of the gospel, A sinner saved by grace.”  Let us be known in life and death as Sinners saved by grace, God’s grace.

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah 40 – 42

Through the Standards:  Christian liberty does not exclude obedience to church and state

WCF 20:4
“And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.  And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ has established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

He Shouldn’t Have Been Elected

Given his political choice of party, which was Federalist, in the early nineteenth century in Delaware, he should have been a Methodist or an Episcopalian.  Those denominations usually won office to the position of governor in the state.  But John Clark was a Federalist Presbyterian, an oddity to be sure.  Obviously Someone higher than those in earthly roles was directing this race and subsequent win to the governor’s chair.

John Clark was born in 1761 on the family farm in New Bristol, north of Smyrna, Delaware.  He had limited schooling in his younger days, but made up for it with an insatiable desire for the knowledge in books.  He was “well read,” as the papers put it at that time.  In 1784, he married Sarah Corbit, a daughter herself of a governor of Delaware.  They had one daughter and possibly others, which history doesn’t name for us.

John Clark obviously had the gifts of leadership.  He was the Colonel of the Third Regiment of Militia for a year in 1807 – 1808.  He served as a sheriff, a state treasurer, a member of the State House, and then as governor of Delaware.  His accomplishments included improvements in educational opportunities.  His argument was that Delaware is a small state and not suitable for increased opportunities in business.  Better plans must to be made to develop the mental capabilities of its citizens.

After serving for his term as governor, he became involved in banking business in Smyrna, Delaware.  He died on August 14, 1821 and is buried in the cemetery of Duck Creek Presbyterian Church in Smyrna.

This contributor looked in vain for any quotable quotes on the significance of personal Christianity in the state or country, and his beliefs on those topics.  The only hope we have for a credible profession of faith is that his membership was in the Presbyterian church and his burial was in a Presbyterian cemetery.  Usually in those days, such inclusion would not have taken place unless there was a credible testimony in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  Both words and spiritual fruits  must be found in Christians to declare that redemption has taken place in a believer’s life.  They may have been found at the time with respect to John Clark, but were simply not recorded in the usual sources we  have available today.  Let it not be said of you though, that no expressions of Christianity are found lacking in your mouth.  Let there be no doubt that you are a professing and confessing Christian to all who observe what you say and do.

Through the Scriptures:  Jeremiah 30 – 32

Through the Standards:  The source and contents of Christian liberty

WCF 20:1
“The liberty which Christ has purchased for believers under the Gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also, in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind.  All which were common also to believers under the law.  But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

 Millennial Issues Hit the Fan

The noble infant seem to be coming apart at the seams. Its “father,” Dr. J. Gresham Machen had been taken to heaven on the first day of the new year of 1937.  His “warrior children,” as they were described once, were not in agreement over a number of issues.  The first theological battle in the Presbyterian Church of America was over the “last things,” or eschatology (study of the last things).

Was the new denomination going to be  classic or historic pre-millennialist, that is, Christ would return, then reign on earth for a literal one thousand years?  Was it going to be a dispensational premillennial return, where Christ’s return is divided into a two-step process: first a secret rapture, with countless people left behind?  Second, a public event, with seven years of tribulation at the hands of the anti-christ, then a one thousand year reign by King Jesus, at which time Israel will receive all the promises made down through the years?  This latter view was that taught by the Schofield Reference Bible.  Or was it to be a-millennialist, in which the one thousand years is a figurative number describing the whole period between the resurrection of God and His return? During this time, Christ rules from heaven, and peace comes through the proclamation of the gospel message.  Which viewpoint will characterize this new Presbyterian denomination?

Professor John Murray, of Westminster Seminary, beginning in December of 1935, wrote a whole series of articles on “the Reformed faith and Modern Substitutes.”  He attacked vigorously Modernism, Arminianism, and dispensational pre-millennialism.  Many were offended by his articles.

In 1937, already a new seminary had been begun over the issue of the last things, when Professor Allan A MacRae left Westminster to begin Faith Theological Seminary.  These same issues of the last days also came publicly to the floor of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America on August 13, 1937.  Eventually they, along with other issues such as Christian liberty, would lead to the beginning of the Bible Presbyterian Church.

Words to live by:  In hindsight, this surely was one of the least reasons to separate from brothers and sisters in Christ.   We need to believe that Christ Jesus will return in power and great glory. That is fundamental.  But to quibble over the events surrounding his return, and worse yet, to separate from other Christians, is questionable, to say the least.  Let us instead resolve to share the gospel with every creature, and then rejoice as Christ  comes back to this earth.

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah 27 – 29

Through the Standards: Proof texts for the tenth commandment:

Deuteronomy 5:21
“Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife, nor desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his manservant or his maidservant, his ox or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Amplified)

Romans 7:7
“What then do we conclude?  Is the Law identical with sin?  Certainly not!  Nevertheless, if it  had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or  have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. (Amplified)

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. (Amplified)

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

A Deluge of Pentecostal Power

We have at  various times in this historical devotional turned to the Diary of David Brainerd.  Brainerd was a Presbyterian missionary to the Indians, or native Americans as we would call them today, in the mid seventeen hundreds.  In his short life and ministry among them, he recorded his thoughts and his actions to them and on their behalf, which diary has been used by the Holy Spirit of God to lead countless in both olden times and modern times to commit their lives to service to the Lord.

We look at one day in August 8, 1745 when in a return visit to the Indians of Crossweeksung, New Jersey, the Lord brought about an awakening of their hearts which surpassed anything David Brainerd had experienced up to this time.  Listen to his words from his diary:  “. . . the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly ‘like a mighty raging wind’ and with an astonishing energy bore down all before it.  I stood amazed at the influence which seized the audience almost universally; and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible form of a mighty torrent, or swelling deluge, that with its insupportable weight and pressure bears down and sweeps before it whatever is in its way.  I must say . . . that the Lord did much to destroy the kingdom of darkness among his people.”

And then at the bottom of his diary, he writes “This was indeed a surprising day of God’s power, and seemed enough to convince an atheist of the truth, importance, and power of God’s Word.”

When so much of his missionary work has been dry of any results, at least from what he could see, it must have been refreshing to finally see God’s powerful work in breaking up  the hard hearts and the giving to them soft hearts for the gospel.

Words to live by:  There is a powerful text which all believers to remember.  It is a wonderful comfort for us.  It is found in the last phrase of Acts 13:48 where it says, “and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”  Both parts of this text are correct.  Who will believe the gospel?  Answer: as many as were appointed to eternal life.  How do we know those appointed to eternal life?  Answer: They will believe.  Be encouraged to continue to share the good news of eternal life with all those who are interested in listening to you – unsaved loved one, neighbors, work associates, school mates, friends, and strangers you meet.

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah  9 – 12

Through the Standards: The ninth commandment: Duties required

WLC 143 & WSC 76 — “What is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” 

WLC 144   “What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A.  The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency, a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requires; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.”

WSC 77 “What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

What Type of Preaching is Necessary Today for a Spiritual Awakening?

Our question in the title is a key one.  We have read in history of various revivals of religion which took place in our country from her earliest days, including the first great awakening under George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, and Samuel Blair.  Samuel Blair?  Yes, Samuel Blair.

Blair was born in Ireland in 1712, and brought to America in his youth.  He was a Log College graduate, and licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1733.  He became the pastor in  New Jersey in 1734.  Five years later, he was issued a call from Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church, just south of Cochranville, Pennsylvania.  The church had been founded in 1730, and had been ten years without a shepherd.  Rev. Blair was led to receive the call and came to this church.

He  had been here for four months, commenting that religion lay as it were a-dying.  He preached but four months when a powerful revival of religion occurred in the church and surrounding community on August 6, 1744.  Writing himself later on what type of preaching the Holy Spirit was pleased to bless, he said,

“The main scope of my preaching was, laying open the deplorable state of man by nature since the fall, our ruined, exposed case by the breach of the first covenant, and the awful condition of such as were not in Christ, giving the marks and characters of such as were in that condition, through a Mediator, with the nature and necessity of faith in Christ the Mediator.  I labored much on the last mentioned head, that people might  have right apprehensions of the gospel method of faith of life and salvation.  I treated much on the way of a sinner’s closing with Christ by faith, and obtaining a right peace to an awakened, wounded conscience; showing that persons were not to take peace to themselves on account of their repentings, sorrows, prayers, and reformations, not to make those things the grounds of their adventuring themselves upon Christ and His righteousness, and of their expectations of life by Him, . . . but by an understanding view and believing persuasion of the way of life, as revealed in the gospel, through the surety-ship, obedience, and sufferings of Jesus Christ, with a view of the suitableness and sufficiency of that mediatory righteousness of Christ for the justification of law-condemned sinners; and thereupon freely accepting Him for their Savior.  I endeavored to show the fruits and evidences of a true faith.”

To be sure, other voices had been  added to such preaching of the gospel. Four years before this year, in May and November of 1740, George Whitefield preached the gospel before 12,000 persons on the grounds of Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church.  Great spiritual results occurred on these occasions as well.

Today, the church continues and is the second oldest Presbyterian church in the Presbyterian Church in America.  Only the name has changed, to Manor Presbyterian Church.

Words to live by:  Pray much for the teaching elder and congregation that there be another outpouring of the Spirit of God upon your church, its pastors, the Session of Elders,  its families, and the entire denomination.  In fact, make it your personal prayer, “Lord, begin a revival of your people, and Lord . . . begin it in me.”

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah 3 – 5

Through the Standards: The eighth commandment: sins forbidden

WLC 142 — “What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man-stealing, and receiving any thing that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious law-suits, unjust inclosures and depopulations; engrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness, inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God has given us.”

WSC 75 — “What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A.  The eighth commandment forbids whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.”

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