‘Heathen Nations’ Beware! Psalm 46:6

Text: “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted.  The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge.”                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 46:6.

Good morning, Christian living within 'Heathen Nations'!   Increasingly, in this 21st Century - Bible-believing, Spiritually 'born again' Christians, find ourselves living our lives within nations that can, in varying degree, only be described as 'Heathen Nations'.  Fact.  Check it out!

Our dictionary definition of the word ‘heathen’ will bear out what I have here, forthrightly, stated in this weekly Bible Lesson.

Dictionary Definition: Heathen – (noun) someone who is not a Christian...but who follows another form of religion, especially polytheistic (many gods); a pagan; someone who has no religion; someone who is ignorant or unmindful of religion; an uncivilized person...(adjective) pagan, irreligious... (The Chambers Dictionary, page 742)

Our once Christian nations, have become more and more unchristian in recent decades, until now we have reached a stage where we can quite easily define the nations in which we live as ‘heathen nations’.   So sad to see but, also, so blatantly true.

We have, as I have preached for almost a decade now,  been actually witnessing ‘The Falling Away’ of the church – as the '...love of many have waxed colder and colder...’; the understanding and teaching of sound Bible doctrine has grossly diminished; and well-known established Pastors have now been heard publicly despising theologians and those of us who have laboured long in Bible-study to learn and teach true Christian doctrine from God’s Word.

Definition of Theology: From the Greek, theos ‘God’, and  - logia (see -logy) knowledge.  

Therefore, ‘Theology’, knowledge from God Himself, via His revealed and written Word, can be seen as being totally indispensable to any credible Christian belief.  Sinful mankind cannot be saved without ‘knowledge of God’, and by such knowledge, him/herself as sinners in need of God’s Salvation in Christ Jesus, His Son.  Pastors who seek to despise ‘theology’ therefore, make themselves out to be fools and hypocrites, for such denigrators of ‘theology’ thereby deny the very Word of God and the Gospel of God’s forgiveness of sin, which they themselves purport to preach/teach!

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he/she that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in al the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  (Matthew 24:11-14)

Genuine, Bible-believing, Spiritually ‘born from Above’ Christianity has been in the decline now for many years, within nations which were originally founded on the moral principles of the KJV Bible, and whose founding laws were based on The Ten Commandments of God as listed in Exodus 20:1-17.

Many seem to want to ‘play church’; to go out and sit in congregations of designer-minded and dressed socialites, desiring only to be entertained, as they parade before televised ‘shows’ of similar deluded souls all ‘playing church’ together.  What a sad state of affairs indeed!  “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  BEHOLD, (look and understand!), I have told you before.  (Matthew 24:24-25)

With the state of ‘the church’ worldwide and international in mind, therefore, we can now understand better the anti-Christian venom and vitriol that is being spewed out over the recent decade by entire nations – as we hurtle towards the end of the ‘end times’, and the worldwide decline in Bible-belief, and genuine Spiritually regenerate Christianity.  Is it any wonder that ‘nations’ are ‘raging’ against Christian values of morality and social order?

Verse 6.  “The heathen raged. The nations were in a furious uproar; they gathered against the city of the Lord like wolves ravenous for their prey; they foamed and roared and swelled like a tempestuous sea.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 220)

When a nation which was once founded on Godly principles and laws that reflect closely The Ten Commandments of the Living Lord God Jehovah, begins to rebel against God and against His people – they are soon seen to diminish in power and strength in the eyes and minds of other nations throughout the world.  Adherence to God’s Word was what made Britain 'Great Britain'.  Today, our nation is tottering on the brink of national irrelevance.

Verse 6. “The kingdoms were moved.  A general confusion seized upon society; the fierce invaders convulsed their own dominions by draining the population to urge on the war, and they desolated other territories by their devastating march to Jerusalem.  Crowns fell from royal heads, ancient thrones rocked like trees driven of the tempest, powerful empires fell like pines uprooted by the blast: everything was in disorder, and dismay seized on all who knew not the Lord.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 221)

“But whosoever shall deny Me (Christ Jesus) before men, him/her will I deny before My Father which is in Heaven.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth (rebellious nations): I come not to send peace, but a sword.”  (Matthew 10:33-34)

Verse 6. “He uttered his voice, the earth melted.  How mighty is a word from God!  How mighty the Incarnate Word.  Oh, that such a word would come from the excellent glory even now to melt all hearts in love to Jesus and to end forever all the persecutions, wars, and rebellions of men!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 221) 

Verse 6. “The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge.  “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.”  They are safe in the rock if they can get thither, though never so weak in themselves.  So the church, though pursued by bloody enemies, an though weak in herself, if yet she get under the wing of the God of Jacob, she may be fearless, for she is safe there.  He is our refuge.” (John Strickland 1661-1670)

Thought: We must pray hard for our nation to return to God and the Gospel of Christ Jesus.  The Lord Jesus returns real soon – for many, it will then be TOO LATE.

‘The City of God’: His Church Psalm 46:5

Text: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

Psalm 46:5.

Good morning, Divinely helped Christian!  Because you and I are in fact, ‘born again’ into Christ’s Body – the church – we are forever promised His help; His enablement; the very present help of His Holy Presence.   What a privileged people genuine regenerate Christians are!   Thanks be to God for His help and His Presence!

In this wonderful God-inspired Psalm, the international and universal church of Christ Jesus is likened unto a ‘city’.  The Lord Himself, as we have seen in last week’s Bible Exposition, is likened unto an ever-flowing river; a great refreshing river that runs through the midst of that ‘city’; making the hearts of the citizens of that Holy city, temporally and Eternally ‘glad’.

Verse 4:  “…the streams thereof shall make glad the city of God.  If the church of Jesus Christ is a walled city; walled and made Eternally secure in the promises of her Saviour; with His Holy Presence, as an Almighty River, running through this city’s midst – then that church, that great city, is rendered impregnable against all her evil enemies of the world, the flesh, or, indeed, the Devil himself!  Hallelujah!  In Christ Jesus, we are forever secure!

“…And upon this Rock (the revealed deity of the Lord Jesus Christ) I will build My church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18)

 Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) had these bold statements of his Christian belief to share with us:

“The City:  The church of God is like a City:

1. Because a city is a place of security.

2. A place of society: what one wants another supplies; they have mutual fellowship. 

3. A place of unity, that people may therein live in peace and concord. 

4. A place of trade and traffic. Here is the market of free grace: “Ho, every one that thirsteth,” (Isaiah 55:1), etc.  Here is the pearl of great price exposed for sale. 

5. A place of freedom and liberty: freedom from the guilt of sin, wrath of God, curse of the law, present evil world, bondage to Satan, etc., etc. 

6. A place of order and regularity; it hath its constitutions and ordinances.

7. A place of rest, and commodious to live in, and thus it is opposed to the wilderness.

8. A place of privilege. 

9. A place of pomp and splendour; there is the King, the court, and the throne. 

10.  A place of pleasure and beauty. (Psalm 48:2)

(Reproduced from The Treasury of David, C.H. Spurgeon, pages 219-210)

This great ‘city’, or His church, has God Himself at Divine Mayor, First Citizen indeed.

Verse 5. “God is in the midst of her.  If you and I be the Body of Christ, the true Spiritually regenerate (born from Above) members of Christ’s Body – then it follows that, no ‘body’ can live without a heart; and no Spiritual Body (i.e. Church) can live if Christ is not the heart and life’s Blood that makes that Body live, and breath, and go forth to win others to it.

“I (Jesus Christ) am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit...Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.  I am the Vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:1-5)

Many today profess to be ‘Christians’, yet in reality they are not, and never have been ‘baptised into one Body..’, Christ’s Spiritually regenerate church.  These unregenerate souls live life in the shadow of ‘the true church’, yet, if unsaved when death calls, will go out into a Christ-rejecter’s Eternity, and be lost forever.  It is time for all of us who profess to be Christians, to make our Salvation sure!  “Examine ye yourselves!”            (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Many today have been ‘baptised’ with tap-water, and even erroneously as babies, yet have never experienced the only completely necessary ‘baptism’ God recognises or sets forth in His Word.  Being Spiritually ‘baptised’, by repentance and faith in Christ’s full Atonement Sacrifice made at the Cross of Golgotha’s Hill.  “Ye MUST be born again...” (John 3:3-8)

“For as the body is one, and hath many members (arms, legs, fingers, etc.), and all members of that one body, being many are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit (Capital S., God Himself!) are we all baptised into one Body (i.e. the church), whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit...Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

It is this Spiritually regenerated (made Spiritually alive) Body, the church, that is likened unto a great city with the River of God’s Presence flowing through us.  He defends, as well as refreshes, ‘His people’, the true Spiritual church.  Praise and glory to His Name!

Verse 5. “God is in the midst of her.  His help is therefore sure and near.  Is she besieged, then He is Himself besieged within her, and we may be certain that He will break forth upon His adversaries.  How near is the Lord to the distresses of His saints, since He sojourns in their midst!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 220)

Without the Lord God’s Divine help, you and I – members of His Spiritual church – would perish in an instant, our enemies and the enemies of Christ being ever so active in this day.

Thought: If Christ be for us – who dares to be against us?  In Him we have full Victory!

Jehovah: The River of Life Eternal! Psalm 46:4

Text: There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the Holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

Psalm 46:4-5.

Good morning, well-watered, and securely fortified Christian!  What is it that keeps us, as regenerate, ‘born again’ Christians, ‘well-watered, and securely fortified’?   From what source comes the well-springs of our lives, our strength; our continual endurance?

 Why, it comes from the Eternal Jehovah Lord God Who has redeemed us by the Blood of Christ, quickened and regenerated us by His Spirit; and granted us His Fatherly grace.

God Almighty, in three distinct and equal Persons – He is, for us, that great river of life indeed.  Praise and all glory to His Holy and Heavenly Name!   Flow in us, and through us, dear Lord God!  Amen.

Verse 4.  “There is a river. Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full and never-failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers.

“the streams whereof... in their various influences, for they are many, shall make glad the city of God... by assuring the citizens that Zion’s Lord will unfailingly supply all their needs.  The streams are not transient, like Cherith; nor muddy, like the Nile; nor furious, like Kishon; nor treacherous, like Job’s deceitful brooks; neither are their waters ‘naught’ like those of Jericho – they are clear, cool, fresh, abundant, and gladdening.

“The great fear of an Eastern city in time of war was lest the water supply should be cut off during a siege; if that were secured the city could hold out against attacks for an indefinite period.  In this verse, Jerusalem, which represents the church of God, is described as well supplied with water, to set forth the fact that in seasons of trial all-sufficient grace will be given to enable us to endure unto the end.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, page 219)

Ralph Erskine, a Scottish preacher and churchman. (18 March 1685 – 6 November 1752), knew the reality of trusting continually on God as an ever-flowing river in times of trouble.  You and I do well to rely on that same great Divine River – as we too endure oppositions, hindrances, and persecutions for daring to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is what Erskine wrote:

Verse 4.  “God is in the midst of her.  If ‘the city of God’ is a Spiritual representation of Christ’s church – worldwide and international – then if clearly follows that the Lord here is teaching us that His Presence is flowing like an infinite ‘River’ through His people, the church.  If God be always flowing in ‘...in the midst...’ of His people, the church – then we can confidently believe that the Lord God Jehovah – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – is that Eternal River the Psalmist is referring to in Psalm 46:4.

1. God, the Father is the river:  ‘For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.’  (Jeremiah 2:13)

2.  God, the Son, is the river: the fountain of Salvation: ‘In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness...’  (Zechariah 13:1)

3.  God, the Spirit, is the river: ‘He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’  ‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life...’     (John 7:38; 4:14)

“What are the streams of this river?  Answer – the perfections of God, the fullness of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and these running in the channel of the Covenant of promise.”  (Ralph Erskine 1685-1752)

Ralph Erskine:  “Ralph Erskine was the younger brother of another prominent churchman, Ebenezer Erskine. He was chaplain and tutor to the 'Black' Col. John Erskine from 1705 to 1709. After studying at the University of Edinburgh, Ralph was ordained assistant minister at Dunfermline in 1711. He ratified the protests which his brother laid on the table of the assembly after being rebuked for his synod sermon, but he did not formally withdraw from the establishment till 1737.

He was also present at, though not a member of, the first meeting of the "associate presbytery". When the severance took place over the oath administered to burgesses, he adhered, along with his brother, to the burgher section.

His works consist of sermons, poetical paraphrases and gospel sonnets. The Gospel Sonnets have frequently appeared separately. His Life and Diary, edited by the Rev. D Fraser, was published in 1834.

There is a larger than life size bronze statue of Ralph Erskine on a pedestal, not far from the High Street in the centre of Dunfermline.”  (Wikipedia, Ralph Erskine)

"Faith, without trouble or fighting, is a suspicious faith; for true faith is a fighting, wrestling faith."  (Ralph Erskine, 1733)

I once taught Bible Study for a number of years at The John White Memorial, Congregational Church, Tennant Street, Belfast.  In that little congregation was a blind lady called Helen, who had the sweetest voice I had ever heard singing the songs of Zion.  One song this dear lady sung was called ‘There is a River’, and each time this saint song this lovely refrain, my regenerate spirit was refreshed and thoroughly encouraged in Christ.


There is a river
, and it flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

 

Thought:  ‘Come to this water; there is a vast supply…There is a River, that never shall run dry…’ Our Lord God, Jehovah, flows like a mighty River in the midst of us, ‘His people’. Praise and all glory to His Holy and wonderful Name! Amen!