Adoss Newsletter – No 13 – October 2014

‘Tis not far off-the hour
When Christ will claim His own;
We soon shall hear that voice of power;
The Lord Himself shall come!

The days are passing by,
The years flow on apace;
Lord Jesus, Thy return draws nigh,
We long to see Thy face.

 

Zech 4:10
By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

2014 is almost over. When I was a boy, I was told that the Lord would have certainly come for His church by the year 2000. In the 1950’s, 2000 was a lifetime away (so it seemed then). But the years have flown by. We are nearly 2015 and the Lord hasn’t come – yet! But the Lord IS coming soon – we just don’t know when. I am reminded of the verses:

 

‘Tis not far off-the hour
When Christ will claim His own;
We soon shall hear that voice of power;
The Lord Himself shall come!
 
The days are passing by,
The years flow on apace;
Lord Jesus, Thy return draws nigh,
We long to see Thy face.

 

See the full spiritual song: ‘Tis not far off-the hour’

 

An Outline to the Bible

Outline of Bible coverOver the past few months I have been editing a booklet based on J N Darby’s Outline to the books of the Bible.’ This is 80- page summary, highlighting the Holy Spirit’s principal messages, less well known than his five volume synopsis. It is now available in draft form and you can download it by clicking here. Please feel free to circulate it, but note that it is still a draft. If you see anything that looks wrong please send me an email. I would like to put the booklet into print in due course, but I wait on God as to when and how.

 

The Rule Book

A year or so ago a friend of mine gathered a few young people and encouraged them to ask questions – about anything. The majority were of the lines ‘Why are we not allowed to have TV?’ , ‘Why can’t I join a rock band?’ and the like. You can imagine how sad my friend was. Christianity doesn’t have a rule book – the Bible certainly isn’t one, even though it tells us what is pleasing to God and what is not.

I trust that some came away saying ‘I don’t want a TV because of the torrent of filth on it that I cannot control’, and ‘I don’t want to be a member of a rock group, because Jesus would never have been a member.’

The Second Man, and Deliverance from Sin

This caused me to work on two articles for ADOSS based on papers by JND.

The first was based on a preaching. After covering the basics of the gospel, Darby said that sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had settled the whole question of our sins and of sin itself. The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.   I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God. No sin there

The second paper shows what wonderful freedom we have. Not only as believers are we to be free of guilt, but we are to know deliverance from the law of sin and death. We still have the flesh, its will and lusts, and in our own strength there is nothing we can do. As a result of Christ’s death, the Christian can say, ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom 8:2). As a result we can know newness of life and the liberty of sonship. I am free, because the sin I have discovered in my flesh has been condemned in the cross of Christ. By faith I am crucified with Him; I have a new place before God, beyond death, judgment and Satan’s power. That place is liberty.

 

Zechariah

It would appear that in 520BC Zechariah, Buddah and Confucius were all engaged in their work. Which one brought people back to God? Who said ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you’ (Zech 1:3). Who had an idea of God’s standard (the measuring line) Zech. 2? Who saw a man’s filthy garments changed to festival robes (Zech 3 – Darby trans. – from our own righteousness to God’s)? And which could speak of the sons of oil (Zech 4 – the limitless supply from God’s Holy Spirit)?

These two wise men from the East were no more than that – giving good advice – but none changing the man which cannot be improved, however much men try!

 

We cry to God for the state of the Church

Up till now the Roman Catholic church, despite its idolatry, human organisation and wrong teaching, stood for some things that were right – upholding marriage, condemning homosexual activity etc. Protestantism had already bowed to the times. Now even Catholicism is following suit. Looking at prophecy, that is not surprising. Let there be a call – not to change the system – but for true hearts to follow Jesus ‘outside the camp’

 

asia_bibi_a_4X3And let us cry to God for those whose Lives are in Danger

The headline on an email I received this week says ‘Aasia Bibi’s appeal against death sentence rejected’. This young mother has been languishing in prison since being falsely accused by some of her co-workers of defiling the name of Mohammed. The government of Pakistan could well bow to international pressure in such a high profile case. But how many others are there? – in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, North Korea knowing the literality of the verse, ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life’. (Rev 2:10).

We may not know them, but they are our brethren.

May we, like they, be kept close to the Lord.

God’s blessings, your brother,

Sosthenes Hoadelphos

 

 

Adoss Newsletter – No 12 – September 2014

 

Zech 4:10
By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

Will He find Faith on the Earth?

I am writing this on our way back from a few days vacation in the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. They were interesting places, having come a long way since they escaped from Soviet domination around 1990. Estonia is the most prosperous, very much like its neighbour Finland; Roman Catholic Lithuania is the nicest; Latvia has further to go to catch up with Western Europe. But what is sad is that I could not establish a spiritual link with anybody – taxi drivers, waitresses or even a family connection – I saw no peaceful faces. Yes, a lot of big churches, but where is there the knowledge of true salvation? In Lithuania we saw the Hill of Crosses – 400,000 of them in 2006. It was weird. Lithuania is RC but in 1840’s Russians tried to force them to go Orthodox . So this started as a protest movement . Now doubtless, it is a money earner for the church!

There must be many there who truly knew The Lord, but we didn’t meet any despite praying for it. May God work mightily in these three little countries.

Before then, however, we spent a happy long weekend with our dear Christian friends in Gothenburg, Sweden. On the Saturday we were on one of the islands, and on the boat we saw a group of young people from the self-styled Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Getting off the boat I waved towards them, and one young lady waved back cheerily. Later we were having a snack outside at a café, when the same young person came by ostensibly to buy some mineral water. As she came out our friend greeted her, and she chatted happily for several minutes. She was an English girl, married to a brother from Sweden. Our friend knew the family well, and they lived close by. He spoke of the Lord’s coming and our being together, to which she responded well. As she was going our friend said to her ‘May The Lord richly bless you’. Her reply: ‘May He bless you too’. That encounter was a highlight of our holiday.

God has His reserves everywhere. Just because we have had to judge a system as evil, that does not mean that it is void of true believers who have peace with God, especially those who never went through the turmoil of the 1960’s.

 

Scotland

There were many prayers about the Scottish referendum, so I am sure God’s hand was over the result. Personally I was a bit ‘pro-yes’, so I have to be humble! Scotland has had a major part in the testimony of our Lord. Men like John Knox, groups like the Covenanters come to mind. It has also been a land where party and personal feeling run deep: Rangers vs. Celtic, Campbells vs. McDonalds, Wee Frees vs. Wee-wee Frees etc. Sadly these divisions have affected God’s people. They will be together in glory.

 

Are ‘Brethren’ Special?

I came across an interesting piece from a letter written by JN Darby in 1875 (click here for my lightly edited version).  By then he had become rather disillusioned with sectarian brethrenism, but still felt there was something special amongst so-called Plymouth Brethren. But what was special was what the brethren possessed from the Lord, not the brethren themselves. God could take what they had from them and give it to others.

It is blessed to gather with a few simple Christians, assembling themselves to the Lord’s name, outside the camp (He rejected here), having no name or organisation. Brethren with a small ‘B’.  May that always be the case.  It is indeed a day of small things

 

Bible Outline

I have nearly finished lightly editing JND’s Outline of the Books of the Bible, providing a concise overview of each book, briefer than the ‘Synopsis’.   My plan is to put it into an e-book.  For the original outline click here.

 

It will all be right in the end

A worldly expression, ‘Karma’ they say.  But what does the Christian say?

‘I have strength for all things in him that gives me power!’ (Phil 4:13)  All things?  If the Bible says all things, then it means all things.   I doesn’t say I can DO all things.  Indeed, I feel very weak even for the simplest thing.  But with Jesus all things are possible.  Have I faith?

 

Your exercises

Forgive me, that’s a ‘brethren’ expression.  What are your concerns about the group of Christians you gather with?  We can share one another’s burdens. There may be something that you are linked with, that I would feel is not according to scripture – ordained ministry in any form, for example.  There may be things that you would point out in my conduct that does not befit a Christian.  That is how we help one another.

The Lord is coming soon.  May He be with you

God’s blessings, your brother,

Sosthenes Hoadelphos

 

 

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Mark

In Mark, as he reveals Christ’s present service, we have in the parable of the sowing Christ’s activity in the field at the beginning, and its cessation till the end, when He is again active in the harvest. All the intermediate particulars given by Matthew are omitted here.

Outline of Bible coverIn Mark we get the Lord’s service (and therefore nothing of His birth), especially His service as prophet. Matthew brings out the order of the facts, with a view to the development of principles, while Mark gives them chronologically. Luke has the same chronology as Mark, where he has any at all.

In Mark, as he reveals Christ’s present service, we have in the parable of the sowing Christ’s activity in the field at the beginning, and the harvest at the end,  All the intermediate particulars given by Matthew are omitted.

In the prophecy on the Mount of Olives we have more references than in Matthew to the disciples’ service. The commission in Mark is to preach the gospel to every creature.

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes, July 2014  

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

Adoss Newsletter – No 11 – August 2014

 

Zech 4:10
Who hath despised the day of small things

By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

 

A Year Old?

ADOSS has been going for a year, and it’s been blessed. Thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in selecting the articles to be summarised, and for help in doing the work. Thank God too for bringing so many interested and interesting people to the website (about 200 hits a day), and for the correspondence that I have been able to enter into.

What have been the results? I can leave that with God. Somebody sarcastically wrote to me saying, ‘And how many have found the assembly?’ First – 99% of people who write are already in it. Second – I don’t know what they have found practically, but I am happy if they understand a little more that our calling collectively is a heavenly one, that the leader of the church is Christ Himself, and that what is here does not need human organisation.

 

Christianity or Islam?

islam-to-christianityI received an email from a gentleman in Pakistan (I believe) saying that he wants to convert from being a Muslim to Christianity. This prompted me to think a bit about what that means.

Does it matter what I am called? Despite having been a servant of the Lord for years Paul said, ‘I am a Pharisee!’ That was his religion. It didn’t matter to him – it was dead. So if somebody says ‘I’m a Christian’, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim – it can be equally as dead.

Life is alone in Jesus. He said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6) . He said ‘Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.’ (John 5:40).

For the answer I gave my enquirer see Convert from Islam to Christianity , and for some further thoughts, Islam or Christian – does it matter?

 

Planting Churches

churchI have recently published an article – Establishing, or Planting Churches – based on J N Darby’s paper – ‘On the Formation of Churches’. In it Darby looked at the various attempts there were to reform the position, creating more and more sectarian divisions. The universality of the church had been lost sight of.

There is an expression that is current now, (not in Darby’s time) as to the planting of churches. But a ‘planted church’ from another nearby one presumes that there was no assembly of God in the target locality. This is almost never the case.

How are we to meet then? Doing nothing is not an option. But before doing anything, we must feel deeply the ruined state of the church, acting with less presumption and more diffidence.

We must separate ourselves from evil, (2 Tim 2:19) i.e. what is at variance with the word. We do not plant a church, we just assemble together. Jesus aaid, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20).   We must acknowledge our weakness and dependence upon God. God is sufficient for His church. Despite the ruin, power is available. So if we call upon Him, He will raise up whatever is needed for the blessing of the saints. Let us acknowledge the authority of Christ, for He rules as Son over His house (whose house are we), whilst the Spirit of God is the sole power in the church. Anything else is pretence, under the domination of man. There is no promise in favour of the system by which men organise churches, but there is the promise of the Lord’s presence for those who ‘assemble together’. Such is the position, humble it may be, but it is blessed by God, even if it is despised by men

 

An Outline to the Bible

bibleJohn Nelson Darby is well known for his Synopsis, but he also produced a very concise summary of each book. I have reproduced most of these outlines, lightly edited – see A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible.

 

Have a Pleasant Holiday

We are still down here, so we enjoy temporal blessings too. A few of our brethren are suffering – fleeing from ISIS terrorists for example. But most readers of ADOSS readers are able to travel around freely. The holiday season is an opportunity to meet other brothers and sisters in their own places and share with them the joy of being in the fellowship of God’s Son.

 

May you be blessed

Sosthenes Hoadelphos

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – The Minor Prophets

The Minor Prophets

 Outline of Bible coverHosea

In Hosea we have here the rejection of the house of Israel and the house of – Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi. The door is secretly opened to the Gentiles.   Israel endures the long deprivation of everything. Then comes the restoration of the whole under Jehovah and David in the latter days. Paul quotes chapter 1:10, and 2:23; Peter only the latter. From chapter 4 we get the most earnest dealing with the conscience of Israel. The book closes with their return in repentance to the sure blessings of Jehovah. It is the testimony of the ways of the Lord.

Joel

Under the figure of the desolation left by a plague of insects we have announced the inroad of the northern armies in the last days, and the coming in of the whole power of man against God’s people. Then Joel gives us the consequent coming in of Jehovah to judge the whole power of man in the day of the Lord, and the valley of decision. Meanwhile, the pouring out of the Holy Ghost upon all flesh, and the promise of certain deliverance to whoever called on the name of the Lord.

You may add, the summons to repentance of all who have ears to hear.

Amos

Amos gives the patience of God’s dealings and ways, which he rehearses in connection with the precise pointing out of the iniquity of Israel’s ways. He marks out the punishment of bordering nations on the same ground of definite moral evil. He notices the rejection of a testimony against the evil, and declares the sure, infallible, unescapable judgment of Jehovah on the whole people. The righteous remnant are certainly saved. The prophecy closes with the promise of building up the tabernacle of David, as head of the nation, and blessing the people.

Obadiah

Obadiah is the judgment of Edom for their hatred of Israel, warning them that the day of the Lord is upon all the heathen, while deliverance should be in Mount Zion, and thence holiness and blessing, and the kingdom be the Lord’s.

Jonah

Jonah is the witness that, though God has chosen Israel, He has not given up His right as a faithful Creator in mercy over all the earth. Those that are connected with Him must be subject to His power and bow to His grace, otherwise the sense of favour is unfaithfulness and self-exaltation. At the same time we get a type of death and resurrection as the way of blessing.

Micah

In Micah we have the general judgment of the Samaria and Jerusalem, for their transgressions, iniquities, idolatry, and their rejection of the testimony of God. The whole land is therefore treated as polluted, and no longer the rest of His people, who must arise and depart. He judges the princes and their prophets, brings in the power of the Spirit to judge even the chosen city of the Lord, but announces its re-establishment by Jehovah in grace in the last days. He brings in the siege of Jerusalem by the heathen, in fulfilment of God’s counsels, in consequence of the rejection of Christ, on account of which they were given up.

He also shows that the same Christ stands as their peace and defence, when the Assyrian comes in, in the last days. The remnant of Israel becomes the people of blessing to, and power over, others, while all evil in it is judged and destroyed, as well as the heathen who have come up against it. Having spoken of the restoration in the last days he returns and insists on the righteousness of God’s ways, contrasting the attempt at ceremonially pleasing Him with the practising of iniquity which He hates. Micah closes looking to God to restore and feed His people – the God who passes by iniquity.

Nahum

The power of the world, or man as such, is put down for ever in Nahum.   We have the testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord in the midst of His vengeance, resulting in blessing to those that trust in Him and wait for Him. It is still the Assyrian. Babylon is another thing altogether.

Habakkuk

Habakkuk gives the soul exercised by the iniquity of God’s people – first, with indignation at the iniquity, and then with distress at their being destroyed by those who are God’s rod to chasten them.

He then gets the answer of God, showing that He knows the pride of the wicked, and will judge it, and that the righteous man must live by trusting in Him. Lastly, he rises above all to the glorious power of God, exercised in the salvation of His people, so that he trusts in Him, come what will.

Zephaniah

In Zephaniah we get the utter judgment of the land and of all the neighbouring nations around, at the great day of the Lord, because of iniquity, hypocrisy, and idolatry. Man’s natural power is dealt with. Because of her iniquity, Jerusalem is distinctly brought out as the special object of displeasure.

The prophecy then singles out the remnant in a very distinct and definite way, calling on them to wait on the Lord, who leaves them as an afflicted and poor people. They are delivered by the judgments which He executes, and rest in His love over Jerusalem, making it a name and praise among all people.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes, July 2014  

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Canticles
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

lay-preachingIn addition to his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, John Nelson Darby produced a short outline.  They were based on a series of lectures in Birmingham.   This is being reproduced here.

As time allows I will go through it, making the language clearer and up to date, only where necessary.  This will not be a summary.

Click on the appropriate book for the summary.

To download a DRAFT version of the booklet in PDF format, please click here. – Outline to the Bible

The Old Testament

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

The New Testament

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

 

Infallibility of Scripture

God alone is infallible; for “infallible” means one who cannot fail. Truth is not the same as infallibility; truth is the opposite to error, not to fallibility.

lay-preachingObjection:  You cannot say that anything is infallible.

Answer:  God alone is infallible; for “infallible” means one who cannot fail. Truth is not the same as infallibility; truth is the opposite to error, not to fallibility.

Scripture comes from God; it presents the truth; it is infallible. But there is no need to defend it to the infidel who rejects it. However, There is a difference between infallibility and perfect truth. If I question the infallibility of scripture, I am making a statement about the book. However when I reject perfect truth, I avoid facing what affects my conscience.

In strict logic, only one who is incapable of erring, is infallible in what he says,