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Alistair Begg on God’s Faithfulness

by WCTS

The words to the poem “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” written by Thomas O. Chisholm back in 1923 were so moving that the musician who gave them melody prayed earnestly that he might pen a tune worthy of the lyric. His prayer was answered! Today, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is sung in churches around the world and is a hymn you likely know well.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions,
they fail not;
As Thou has been Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”
– Thomas O. Chisholm

It’s good food for our souls to routinely read of God’s faithfulness in Scripture. This serves as a helpful reminder that the Bible pulsates with the drumbeat of God’s faithfulness from beginning to end. When we study the revelation of God’s character in the Bible, we find that faithfulness is not an external attribute, but one that is grounded innately in His nature. This truth is a great comfort to ponder on a gray afternoon – or on a sunny one for that matter! The Psalms in particular are rich with encouragement along these lines: “As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” (Psalm 40:11)

In Galatians, Paul reminds us that faithfulness is part of the fruit that comes as a gift from God’s Spirit. We don’t foster it on our own. It is cultivated in us through the work of the Spirit, therefore we can only become Christ-like and possess the characteristics Paul describes through God’s sovereign grace.

My late friend Jerry Bridges succinctly explained our complete dependence on God’s faithfulness “for deliverance from temptation, for ultimate sanctification, for the forgiveness of our sins, for deliverance through times of suffering, and for the fulfillment of our ultimate hope of eternal life.” It’s humbling when we fully grasp that our journey to salvation is all grace from beginning to end.

Our first resource this month helps us to understand that God’s faithfulness remains even when tragedy strikes. In Where was God when that happened? Christopher Ash gives helpful insight into God’s sovereignty in the wake of painful events. And, in our second offer, we explore the greatest image of God’s faithfulness – the sending of the Lord Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. Name above All Names explores the Scripture to provide an in-depth portrait of Jesus. As always, I commend both these books to you highly.

Alistair Begg on the Fruit of the Spirit

by WCTS

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” – C.S. Lewis

This is a helpful quote as we seek to live each day in step with the Spirit, rather than gratifying the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Instead of our lives being marked by impurity, idolatry, and jealousy, we bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is not ornamentation; it is fruit. These characteristics are not attached externally. They are produced by grace and provide evidence of the transforming power of the Spirit. This is a beautiful portrait of a holy, Godly, Christ-like life. There is nothing drab or austere about the work of the Spirit in the process of sanctification.

“The work which His goodness began,
the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
or sever my soul from His love.”
– Augustus M. Toplady, A Debtor to Mercy Alone

The apple trees behind our home produce fruit in a manner that is quiet, unhurried and unspectacular. Similarly, the work of grace in our lives is largely slow and steady and when we are tempted to think that ‘nothing is happening,’ we remind ourselves that God is committed to bringing to completion the work that His goodness has begun (Phil.1:6). This truth is told in the lyric of a really good old hymn titled A Debtor to Mercy Alone.

Our program series, which begins mid-month, provides a closer look at the fruit of the Spirit. As a church family, we were greatly challenged and encouraged by this study and I trust and pray that you will find it to be equally beneficial. I was really helped by Jerry Bridges’ book on this subject and so we are offering it as our second resource this month. Here is another addition to your ever-growing Truth For Life library! As you can tell, we are very committed to providing good books that have lasting value.

As of this morning, we begin our first full week in our new building. It was a strange sensation to see all our belongings moved out of Parkside, which has been our TFL home for more than 20 years. However, we have only moved a matter of 400 yards and will continue to have reasons to shuttle back and forth. The new space is an occasion for expressing our gratitude to you for supporting us so generously in this venture. We are keen to see all that God has in store for us and we seek to walk in humility before Him.

I routinely mark my days with songs and hymns and here is what I have been singing to myself during this transition:

How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
His love is as great as His pow’r
And knows neither measure nor end.

‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit will guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past
And trust Him for all that’s to come.

(You can hear this hymn sung by The Scottish Festival Singers at truthforlife.org/adore)

We rejoice in the words of Paul at the end of Romans 11: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”

Upcoming Series on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg

by WCTS

Standing Firm in Shaky Times, Volume 3

May 26-June 13
Scripture:1 Peter 4-5

First Peter is a handbook for Christian Living. All of the foundations necessary for building lives of spiritual maturity are contained in these chapters. Peter’s readers were geographically scattered and in the face of all kinds of challenges, they needed to be theologically grounded. Jesus had given Peter the task of feeding and strengthening the sheep. This compelling, practical, vital letter is surely part of the response to that directive. Peter is clear about his purpose: to stimulate their faith, to assure them of the reliability of God’s word, and to encourage them to stand fast in God’s grace.

In volume three of this series, Alistair Begg points us to Peter’s instruction for living a godly life in the midst of persecution. Christians can persevere in times of great suffering by humbly and prayerfully entrusting ourselves to the Lord Jesus, who suffered in our place.

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Jesus 101

June 14-30
Scripture: Selected

Who is Jesus? Can ordinary people understand His identity, or do you need a seminary education? In Jesus 101, Alistair Begg emphasizes that the search for the real Jesus must always lead us to the Scriptures. Only in the Bible do we meet the Man Who is God, the living Word Who is Prophet, Priest, and King; only there do we learn of the Lamb sacrificed to bring salvation to a lost and dying world, the majestic Ruler of a kingdom that will last for all eternity. When we have a solid biblical grasp of who the Savior is, and of what He accomplished on our behalf in His life and atoning death, our hearts are filled with awe and adoration at the mention of His name, “Jesus.”

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