Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The Toronto church will be open (DV) for public service today. Only the morning service will be held for the next few weeks at its normal time of 11.00am. 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.
A WARM THANK YOU
A warm thank you to all our readers for their continual prayers, cards, e-mails and phone calls for the writer. He is recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. Do continue to pray the Lord will speedily raise him to health and strength. The Lord helped greatly to conduct the graveside funeral service for our brother, Peter Slade on Friday.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BELIEVER SINS?
Christians ought to live holy lives. Their sins have been blotted out by the precious blood of Christ, and their lives should be examples of godly living. But what happens when a believer sins? Most Christians do not commit open sins, but what about those committed even in ignorance? Is there cleansing from these?
In the book of Leviticus the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, gave the children of Israel a series of sacrifices, each one having a different emphasis. The burnt offering was a picture of the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross. The meat offering, a bloodless sacrifice, pictured sanctification, in which we give of our best to the Master. The peace offering again pictures Calvary, but centres on the benefits the believer receives from Christ’s death, namely, peace. The sin and trespass offerings were made after the others had been offered. In other words, these had to do with the lingering defilements of contact with this sinful world.
As guilty sons and daughters of Adam’s fallen race, we must acknowledge our natural bent towards sin. It is only the sustaining grace of God that keeps us from sin. With all his efforts, the best Christian is still faulty. And Leviticus makes it clear ignorance of our sin is no excuse. We are guilty before God.
But God made a way for Israel to deal with these lingering defilements. The sin and trespass offerings foreshadow Christ on the cross. Thank God we have a trespass offering in Christ. The apostle John encouraged the saints not to sin, but went on to say, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” [I John 2:1].
Does some sin, known or unknown, steal your peace today? Come, confess it to Christ, and He will cleanse it. Start this day with a clean conscience, trusting in the merits of the shed blood of Christ.
This earth is cursed because of sin, and therefore everyone will reap afflictions of some sort, sooner or later. They are legion, and can stem from health, personal, family, business and financial concerns. The Christian, also being born in sin, is not immune from afflictions.
The good things that happen to us we enjoy, but the not so good are something else. Yet the Psalmist makes an amazing statement, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” [Psalm 119:74]. Why can the Christian say, “It is good?” The answer is simple, “that I might learn thy statutes.”
Some things cannot be learned from a book. You could read all the books available but you cannot learn to swim without getting into the water. You have to learn experimentally that the water will bear you up. To the non-swimmer this is crazy.
God has given us in His Book the instructions about how to live our Christian lives, but it takes the experience of affliction to teach us that the Lord is with us through every travail of life. It is when we are down, laboring under some affliction, that we prove the fact that the Lord never leaves us or forsakes us.
We become careless in prayer when all goes well, but afflictions will quickly drive us to our knees again. Likewise we tend to neglect the Bible and don’t hear the speaking voice of God. Afflictions restore hearing to otherwise deafened ears.
THE SORROW OF OTHERS
We are ready to cry out: “surely never was there sorrow like unto our sorrow”; whereas, if our troubles were to be thrown into a common stock with those of others, and then an equal dividend made, share and share alike, we should each of us say, “Pray, give me mine own again.” [Matthew Henry].