Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The Government of Ontario has allowed churches to reopen with a maximum of 30% capacity, and with a number of restrictions. The Toronto church session has decided not to reopen just yet, they want to be safe rather than sorry. They are hoping to announce the reopening date soon, but today the services will be on sermonaudio at 10.00am and 5.30pm. The adult Bible class is now closed until September. The Sunday evening prayer time is at 4.30pm on zoom, as is the Wednesday evening prayer meeting at 7.30pm. Those on the mailing list will be informed of any further changes.
IN THE BEGINNING
The very first meetings of Toronto Free Presbyterian Church were held 44 years ago on Sunday, July 4, 1976 in a rented church on Cosburn Avenue in East York. The church, which seated about one hundred was well filled, the congregation being made up of the faithful, the curious and the press. The latter two were there no doubt because of the adverse media attention the opening attracted, mostly due to our association with Dr. Ian Paisley, the moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (Northern Ireland).
The first message preached by the Rev. Frank McClelland was “Our Message for Metro,” an exposition of John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
The church still preaches that same message, the text being prominently displayed on the pulpit wall of the present church.
The evening subject was “Why I am a Free Presbyterian,” in answer to the oft-repeated question, what is the Free Presbyterian Church? It is Fundamental in Doctrine, Evangelistic in Outreach, Presbyterian in Government, Protestant in Conviction and Separatist in Practice, having no fellowship with the ecumenical movement.
THE ULTIMATE DESTINY
The cartoonist pictures life in heaven as an unexciting existence: the inhabitants sit on clouds and strum harps. Even among believers there is a nebulous understanding of what the afterlife will be like. The reality is much different from the cartoonist’s caricature.
God made Adam an Eve to live in a perfect physical environment. He made us likewise with body and soul. The body is designed to live on earth and from the earth. When the Christian dies, his soul goes to heaven but his body is buried in the earth. He is “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).
“God is a Spirit” and heaven is His dwelling place, where he is served by angelic spirit beings. Despite the fact that Elijah and the Lord Jesus are in heaven in their actual bodies, heaven doesn’t seem to be the abode of the saints in their resurrection bodies.
Isaiah and John (in the book of Revelation) tell us that God is going to make a “new earth.” What would be its purpose if it is not to be inhabited? Peter adds that it will be a place “Wherein dwelleth righteousness.” If there are no people on the new earth, who would show that “righteousness” to which Peter refers?
The body lies in the grave awaiting the resurrection. Why would God resurrect our bodies if we were going to dwell in heaven which is preeminently the abode of spirits, not bodies? Is it not rather that after our souls and bodies are reunited at the resurrection, we will live on the new earth with the Lord Jesus, also in His glorious body?
What a prospect! “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3.[Frank McClelland in A Word in Season, October 5]
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Job 19:25, 26
A WHOLESOME WORD
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4.
“We must have the Word of God. With this alone we can withstand the devil. Take this from us, and our enemy will have us in his power, for we shall soon faint. “Our souls need food, and there is none for them outside the Word of the Lord. All the books and preachers in the world cannot furnish us a single meal: it is only the Word from the mouth of the Lord that can fill the mouth of a believer. Lord, evermore give us this bread. We prize it above royal dainties.”[C.H.Spurgeon in his Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith]
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger.” John 6:35