Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The Toronto church is now open for Sunday morning public worship at 11.00am. Only the morning service will be held for the next few weeks. Certain restrictions will be in place, details of which have been sent out to those on the church mailing list. The evening service, at its normal time of 6.30pm, will continue on sermonaudio. The Wednesday evening prayer meeting (7.30pm) for this week will be on zoom as will the Sunday evening pre-service prayer time (5.50pm). Those on the mailing list will be informed of any further changes.
THE GUARDING OF THE MIND
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.”
“In I Peter 1:13 the apostle sets before us what should be the resolve of every Christian through grace – to guard the mind. There is in this evil day a constant, concerted attack upon the minds of God’s people. We are daily exposed to a brainwashing process. Radio, television, videos, the press, and various publications are all instruments hijacked by our subtle enemy to reach our minds.
“The media constantly presents sin as acceptable in modern society. Drinking, adultery, and unfaithfulness are presented as socially acceptable and the common norm. The unsavoury filth should never be allowed to seep into or sully the mind of the Christian. He must gird up the loins of the mind, as the pilgrim on a journey girded up his robes with a girdle so that he might walk unhindered. So let us keep our garments unspotted from the world and gird our minds lest they get caught up and entangled in the philosophy and thinking of the worldling.” [Rev. Jim Beggs in Eagles Wings, July 26].
A LITTLE HOUSE IN ROME
The latter days of the apostle Paul’s life were not easy. After many years of faithful service he is now under house arrest in Rome, bound always with a chain to a soldier. Just think of the physical and personal hardship of that. No matter what Paul did, or went, he had a Roman soldier bound to him. The first two years of his imprisonment he was confined to “his own hired house” (Acts 28:30). He had to pay the rent. Paul was not allowed out, but people could come and visit him. What a ministry was conducted in that little house in Rome.
Paul’s congregation was varied. As always he preached and taught “those things which concern the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 28:31). He had a captive audience in the daily rotation of soldiers in his chained guard, changed every eight hours. That this was effective is clear from his impact on “Caesar’s court” (Philippians 1:13 margin) during the reign of the wicked Nero. Then many others, both Jew and Gentile, came to visit and hear the Gospel.
Paul did a mammoth work in his missionary journeys and touched the lives of thousands of people. But Paul’s greatest work was probably done in the little house in Rome. Not only did he audibly connect with people, but he was a writer, laboring under difficult circumstances. Every word was written with a Roman soldier looking over his shoulder. It was here that he penned his epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and to Philemon. Despite the opposition from the Jews he penned the divine commentary on Leviticus, the book of Hebrews. He wrote it from that little house in Rome and said to them, “Ye had compassion of me in my bonds” (Hebrews 10:34). By the grace of God Paul turned difficult circumstances into an oasis of hope. How are we using “our little house”?
“HALLOWED BE THY NAME”
One of the opening statements of the Lord’s Prayer that focuses on the perfection of God is “Hallowed be thy name.” The Puritan Thomas Watson has a wonderful comment on it.
“‘Hallowed be thy name’ is the one petition that God’s people will continue to make for all eternity. When some of the other petitions will be useless and out of date, as we shall not need to pray in heaven, “Give us our daily bread,’ because there will be no hunger; nor, ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ because there will be no sin; nor, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ because the old serpent is not there to tempt,’ yet the hallowing of God’s name will be of great use and request in heaven; we shall be ever singing hallelujahs, which is nothing else but the hallowing of God’ name.”
THE BLESSING OF MARRIAGE
Martin Luther said that, “The greatest gift of God is a pious, amiable spouse who fears God, and loves His house, and with whom one can live in perfect confidence.” Marriage was instituted in the Garden of Eden before the fall, the only thing that survived that time of perfect purity. In this age of marriage infidelity, may we preserve it with thanksgiving to God its Giver.