[2]
The Ordination of Mr. Maurice Baxter at Corragarry

A large crowd assembled in our Corragarry Congregation in Co. Monaghan, for the ordination of Mr. Maurice Baxter on Friday 8th February.

Mr. Baxter comes from the Hillsborough congregation, and was the student minister in Corragarry since June 1982. The service was led by the Rev. Austin Allan, Tandragee, who until his recent move was the senior minister. He is now succeeded by the Rev. Ivan Foster, Kilskerry. The Rev. Alan Edgar opened the meeting in prayer, then the Rev. Robert Ormerod brought the first message from Hebrews 1:3. The Rev. Ivan Foster put the prescribed questions to the minister elect, then Mr. Baxter subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith, and was ordained to the ministry by the laying on of hands by the Presbytery. The ordination prayer was led by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley, Moderator of the Presbytery.

The charge to the Minister and congregation was brought by Dr. Paisley, who preached on the text, "But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits". Daniel 11:32.

Following Dr. Paisley's address the newly ordained minister gave a brief word of testimony and paid tribute to the help of his parents, his wife Chrismar, the Rev. Barnes of Hillsborough, and the Rev. Allan, the senior minister.

Mr. J. Johnston, a member of the committee, welcomed Mr. Baxter and his wife and family, and spoke highly of the work which he had already carried out in the district, while a student minister. The congregation was led in the closing prayer by the Rev. Thomas Murry, Maloin. A most enjoyable supper was provided by the ladies of the congregation.

A mention must also be made of the thorough security provided by the Garda Siochana, in both guarding our church property, and in escorting the V.I.P.s. [3]

How to Know the Will of God for Your Life
A Sermon preached by Dr. Ian Paisley MP in The Martyrs Memorial Church (Electronically recorded)

I have a vitally important message to deliver, a message that is important to every child of God - "How I can know and be sure of God's Will for me".

The Westminster Confession of Faith has two Catechisms, the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism. The Shorter Catechism was written for those of weaker capacity, but today we have become so poor in our capacity the Shorter Catechism is difficult even to those who profess to have great capacity. The Larger Catechism, however, was written for those of more mature minds. It asks the same questions as the Shorter Catechism but its answers are longer. It asks in the first question, "What is the chief end of man?" Its answer is "Man's chief end and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever". In that answer we have underscored for us the only way to lasting joy, lasting peace and the fulfilment of living, for man's chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy Him forever.

The Only Way

Now the only way to know God is to know and to do His holy and blessed will, and that is the sole and only way to satisfying enjoyment of God's peace. So it is of the utmost importance then for every believer to be absolutely sure what the will of God is for him or for her. Can the will of God be known? Can I be confident as confident as it is possible to be that this is the way in which I should walk? That is important. It is important because the greatest of all blessings comes to the child of God through knowing and through doing the will of God.

Turn in your Bible to the third chapter of Mark's Gospel, look with me at verse 35. (Last night as I was preparing this message this verse gripped me as never before.) Mark 3:35, "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister and mother". Do you want the highest possible relationship with Christ? To be the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. To be the sister of the Lord Jesus Christ. To be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a privilege! What a joy! What a thrill! What ecstasy! [4] What celestial blessing! We can only know it if we know the will of God and do it.

Two Prerequisites

Before the will of God can be known there are two pre-requisites, there are two prior requirements. First of all, there must be a willingness to know God's will. We must be absolutely and totally committed to find and know the will of God for us. Are you seeking genuinely, sincerely, continually, constantly, perseveringly to find out what the will of God is for you.

Turn in your Testament to John chapter 7 and verse 17 (Make a note of these texts, meditate upon them, because they give you the key to the mastery of this great problem). Verse 17 of John's Gospel chapter 7, 'If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine'. If any man is willing to do His will. So if I am absolutely willing, dedicated to find out; on fire with a quest to know the will of God for my life, thank God I will know it. 'Ye shall know.'

Secondly, there must be a willingness to submit ourselves to God's will. That is, having known God's will, to become the servant - the slave of God's will. To know it not as a shackle of iron but as a harness of love. 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light.'

Turn to Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 6, and you will find there, set in the language of servitude, a very important verse. We read from verse 5 of Ephesians chapter 6, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto Christ, not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God (Mark it) from the heart". The heart, in Scriptural psychology, is the centre of the affections and love. So if we are going to find out the will of God for us, God must see two things - prerequisites - prior requirements in our heart. Number one, "There is a man, there is a woman that is totally concerned to know the will of God for their lives, and there is a man and there is a woman absolutely dedicated, totally on fire to submit themselves to my will; to obey my commandments and to do the will of God as it is revealed to men". If we have not those two prerequisites or prior requirements, God will not shew us the will of God for our lives.

Now in order to know the will of God for your life, you need, First of all, to ascertain the truth about the will of God for you.

Secondly, you need to ascertain the plan of that will for you. What is the programme? What are the steps? What is the pilgrimage of that path of God's will? Thirdly, you need to ascertain the details of the will of God so that you will know exactly the way that you should take.

God as provided an answer to those three queries. [5]

ONE: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WILL OF GOD FOR ME

What is the truth about the will of God for me? The truth about the will of God for me is found in the Word of God. What about the plan of the will of God for me? The plan of the will of God for me is illuminated and revealed to my heart by the Spirit of God. The Word of God deals with the truth of God's will. The plan of the will of God is dealt with by the Spirit of God. For the truth I need the Word of God. For the plan I need the Spirit of God, and for the details I need the Providence of God.

Let us look at it. The Word of God spells out in principle the will of God. Anything contrary (and I want to really emphasise this) to the plain teaching of God's Word is not and never can be the will of God for any child of God.

I have people come to me and they say, "It is the will of God for me to stay in apostasy. I know I am doing God's will". I have to say to them, lovingly but sternly, "Do not make the Holy Ghost a liar". For there were people who made the Holy Ghost a liar, or tried to do it, and they were cut down instantly in the early church. The Spirit of God says something about apostasy, it does not need any interpretation, it is as plain as the midnight sun, "From such withdraw thyself". You could not get anything plainer than that, "Come out from among them".

So when a person says, "It is the will of God for me to stay in apostasy", it is not the will of God, they are under a deceiving spirit, because the will of God is always in keeping with the Word of God. A Sunday School teacher came to me many years ago (she taught in an apostate Church) and said to me, "I am the teacher of the Bible Class, I am not going to leave for it could not be the will of God for me to leave". She maintained, "If I left they probably would get an apostate teacher, and all the good work that I have done would be destroyed". Three or four months afterwards she came to this Church and applied for membership. I said to her, "Why the change?" She said, "Well, what you said to me was right. You said to me, 'The minister of the Church has more influence from the pulpit and can destroy all you do in your Bible Class by a few sentences from the pulpit.' Last Sunday the Bible Class had a discussion and I was emphasising that everybody needed to be born again, and the whole Class turned on me and said, 'The minister who has more education than you, knows more about theology than you says you don't need to be born again. We believe the minister and we don't believe you'." And she said, "I realised that I was not doing the will of God".

The Unequal Yoke

A young man comes to me and says to me, "I'm going out with a very beautiful young lady but she is not saved", or a young woman says, "I'm [6] going out with a handsome young man but he is not saved". I always say to them, "That is not the will of God for you. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. It is not the will of God for a believer to get in tow with an unbeliever, to develop a relationship and be married." That is why in this Church I never marry a believer to an unbeliever, I would be guilty of a sin. Of course, I will marry two unbelievers, they are not on the road to Heaven. I will speak to them and exhort them to be saved, but I will not marry a believer and an unbeliever. How could I do it? God's Word makes it clear, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers".

You say, "Well I really love that young woman". Well, if you love her enough you will be prepared to tell her she is going down the wrong road, and until she is born again you can have nothing more to do with her. I tell you, if she has any love for you she will begin to think really hard about where she is going to be in Eternity. The will of God is known by the plain teaching of God's Book, as far as its truth is concerned.

Success Not Proof

People come to me and say, "I'm successful, I must be in the will of God". So was the rich fool, he was the best farmer in the country. He was not strangled with milk quotas or anything like that. He was building his barns and they were bursting at the seams. Was he in the will of God? No sir! We have a strange form of pragmatism today in the Church, "If it is successful it must be right. If it draws a crowd it must be right. If it shows good results it must be right". Nonsense! Here is a man running a race. He can pass the winning post before anybody else if he breaks the rules, but if he strives for the mastery he is not crowned except he keeps the rules. You need to keep the rules of God if you are going to know the blessing of God. The principles of the Bible never change with changing circumstances. Hence, you need to read, study, devotionally and intelligently this Book if you are going to know the will of God for you.

There were people that came to Christ, or will come to Christ at the last day, and they thought they were doing God's will. They said they were miracle workers, like the modern charismatics, they claimed to prophesy in God's Name. They were successful. Christ said, "I never knew you". Because the only person that gets to Heaven is "he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven". The first thing I need is the Word of God to get the truth of God's will.

TWO: THE PLAN OF GOD'S WILL FOR ME

Then the Spirit of God illuminates our mind in the plan of God's will. Thank God we are not left to ourselves to try and find out God's will for our lives. [7]

If you turn over to the eighth chapter of this same epistle you will find some wonderful words there in verse 9, "But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8, verse 9).

Every Blood-washed child of God has the Spirit of God, but that is not it all, look at verse 14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God". The Spirit of God not only indwells but He leads the obedient child of God. You can know the leading of God's Holy Spirit. How sad it is that many of God's people know nothing of the gracious, wonderful and miraculous leading of the Spirit of God. No wonder they mess up their lives. No wonder they destroy their testimony. No wonder they lost out with God.

Turn to John chapter 16 and verse 13 (There the Lord Jesus Christ tells us about the Spirit of God), "Howbeit when He the Spirit of God is come, He will guide you into all truth". He will guide you. There will be a gracious guiding of your life, your heart, your mind and your soul into truth. In the eighth chapter of Romans and in the verse 27 there is a wonderful verse, "He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints (mark it) according to the will of God". According to the will of God! So the Spirit of God illuminates our minds in the plan of God's will. He shews us what we must do, He reveals the programme, the plan and the purpose for our lives.

THREE: THE DETAILS OF THE WILL OF GOD FOR ME

Then the Providence of God combines the circumstances and indicates the open door to the doing of God's will. Could I say, the warrant for action concerning God's will must be a complete combination of the three. When the Word of God and the Spirit of God and the Providence of God all combine to witness in agreement, then you know without a shadow of a doubt that that is God's will for you.

Now this is a day of easy choices. This is a day of softening. This is a day of weakening. Some people say, "This is the will of God for it is so pleasant, it is so easy, it is so mild, it is so wonderful". Not so my friend, let me tell you, the will of God is always resisted. The line of least resistance is never God's will, it is the line of most resistance that is usually God's will.

The apostle Paul was in Corinth, and if you turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 16 you will find what was happening in Corinth. He was having a riot. He was being opposed and resisted by fierce and terrible forces, and in 1 Corinthians 16 and verse 9, he says, "A great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many (note it) adversaries".

So there is a fight when God opens the door. You will have a fight with yourself, because that open door will mean that the flesh has got to go to [8] the Cross. You will have a fight with the world. The world will hold forth its hands and say, "Not that way but this way". You will have a fight with the Devil, for there is one thing the Devil doesn't want and that is for a man of God, a woman of God to walk in God's perfect will. What is the text that we read? Romans chapter 12, "That ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". I tell you, it will not be a line of least resistance, there will be a battle.

Use The Fleece

You say to me, "But, preacher, I would like to know that open door". You can know it, because God permits you to put out the fleece. When you want to ascertain God's will you never make it easy, you always make it difficult. Like the man who had two young ladies in mind, and he wanted to know what one to marry, so he said, "Lord, will it be Jane or Margaret? Please make it Margaret". He had made up his mind. Let me say this to you, that when you have to settle God's will you don't have any preferences. You make the test, putting out the fleece, difficult. How do you get a fleece? You can't get a fleece until you have slain the Lamb. The Cross-work must be done in your heart. You must be willing to die to all your preferences and all your choices.

Gideon put out the fleece and he said, "Let there be dew, but let the dew be on the fleece and not on the ground", and the Lord did that. Gideon should have been satisfied but he wasn't, he said, "Lord, reverse it, let the dew come only on the ground and not on the fleece", and he got up and it was so. God shewed him a token for good. That is what the Psalmist said, "Shew me a token for good".

Before I make a decision in my life I put out the fleece. I put God to the test. I examine the circumstances, and I say to God, "There is something and if that happens I will be absolutely sure". When it happens it is not a coincidence, it is a miracle, for God works miracles today providentially. He worked a miracle, thank God, for me this week, providentially, and to His Name be all the glory!

Testing the Call of God

Let me give you an illustration. When I was a young preacher I wanted to be totally sure that God had called me to be a preacher of the Gospel. I knew, having watched my father who was a faithful preacher and a separatist, it was going to be no easy road. I knew the buffetings, the battles, and the hardships that I was going to stand if I was going to be a faithful preacher. All I wanted to know, had God really and truly called me to be a preacher. Then I knew that it did not matter what circumstance I was in, or what battle I was fighting, or what trouble came my way, I could say, "God has [9] called me and I can stand. I don't need to re-think my position, I don't need to worry. I'm God's chosen man for the job". If you haven't got that, friend, you have got nothing. If your anchor doesn't hold and grip the solid rock you will drift to shipwreck.

When I was at the South Wales Bible College I remember one morning, closing myself up in the room about six o'clock in the morning. I knelt down and I said, "O, God, I must know this day. I must be sure this day. I must be confident this day. And if it does not happen today I'm packing my bags I'm going home. I'm not going on". And like a flash there came to my mind that great text, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men". Immediately the Devil said, "That is only a coincidence, you just want to be called".

Now let me tell you, friend, it is a good thing to desire to be called of God, for the Bible says, "If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work". There is nothing wrong with that. But the old Devil got me, and I said, "All right, that is not good enough". I said, "it is still today, if I don't get the answer today I've got to quit". We went down to breakfast at 8 o'clock, and at 8 o'clock they read the Notes specially prepared by our Associate College in Geneva. The two Colleges had a link, the one in Geneva and the one in South Wales. The Principal of the College in Geneva prepared special Bible Readings in French, they were not available to any other part of the United Kingdom, they were only available to us, translated specially for us. Our Principal that day took up the Testament and the portion that was read was, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men". Immediately the Devil said to me, "It is a coincidence; it just happened". I said, "All right, I've got to be absolutely dead on sure, I'm putting out the fleece again". How gracious is God! How long suffering We went in at 9 o'clock for the morning worship half an hour before the lectures started. We had a Hymn Book, used nowhere else in the United Kingdom. Again it was the French Hymn Book of our College in Geneva. It had been translated by the Principal of our own College. The first Hymn that was given out was a Hymn that was in no Hymn Book in the United Kingdom. "Boats and Nets they left behind, These fishermen by Galilee's shore." I said, that day, to the Devil, "You can say what you like, you can bring up whatever you like, I am now convinced, and no one will ever shake me, and no one will ever get me off this solid rock, God has called Ian Paisley to be a preacher, and by the grace and help of God a preacher I will be".

Confident

I have been in many tough places in my life, and I will be in many tough places before I make the Glory Shore, but I want to tell you, when the Devil comes up and says to me, "Maybe you were not called to do this work", I look the old Devil straight in the eye, and I say, "Do you remember the day in Wales? Do you remember the day when I put out the fleece? Do you remember the day when I was able to wring a whole bucket of water out of [10] the fleece?" I say to the Devil, "I resist you in Jesus' Name". There is one thing the Devil can't stand, he can't stand up to that Name.

I could take a very long time to tell you of all the ways I have been able to ascertain God's good and acceptable and perfect will for my life. A man that lives in the will of God pre-dates Heaven. He is enjoying Heaven below, for he is walking in the full light of God's countenance.

Men and women, let us make sure we know the will of God. But let us make sure when we know it we do it, and in doing God's will there will be a reward that no man can measure; a reward that the human soul will not be even able to contain.

May God help us all to know and do God's perfect will for Jesus' Sake!

AMEN AND AMEN!

[11-19 MEDITATIONS FOR THE MONTH]

[21]
"LIVING ROOM": A page for women, presented by Eileen Paisley

The faith of a child is a wonderful thing. On several occasions in the Gospels we read how our Lord took a little child and set him in the midst in order to emphasise the simplicity of faith. He was not saying we should be childish - far from it - but that we should be child-like in our faith.

I learned many lessons on faith from my own children, especially at times of family worship, when they would make very specific requests from God. I must confess that at times my faith was not as strong as theirs, and I recall how rebuked I felt when God graciously answered their prayers.

Four times in Matthew's Gospel our Lord rebuked those of little faith. In Chapter 6:30 He rebukes care. He had been teaching His disciples how to live and how to pray and shewing them the real meaning of life and what their priorities should be. He used easily-understood language and drew lessons from familiar objects such as fish and fowl, grass and grapes, thorns and thistles, fruit and flowers. He knew his hearers had many responsibilities, just as you and I have, and He knew too, just how easy it was for them to become bowed down with the cares of life. He pointed to the fowls of the air and reminded the multitude that they were fed by their Heavenly Father - elsewhere He tells us that not even a little sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge - and then He poses this question, "Are ye not much better than they?" He will not see the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread. He has promised to supply our need so we don't need to be unduly worried about our food.

Neither do we need to be concerned about our wardrobe. Our Lord points to the lilies of the field and tells us that Solomon's clothing, glorious as it was, couldn't be compared to the humble lily. The flower couldn't spin or toil to make itself beautiful. It isn't what we put on that counts with God, it's what we are underneath all the man-made finery. Truly, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Again the Lord poses a question, "If God so clothe the grass of the field - Shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

In chapter 8:26 He rebukes fear. On this occasion Jesus was in a ship with His disciples when there arose a great tempest, and the waves covered the ship. This story always reminds me of an incident on Lough Neagh in which my brother was involved. He and a friend took out a little flat-bottomed boat, intending to enjoy some leisurely rowing, but they were only out a short time when a fierce storm arose. The sight of that little boat bouncing about like a cork on those black mountainous waves is indelibly etched on my memory. An old sailor who had weathered many such storms on those treacherous waters saw their danger and came to the rescue.

When on the sea of life we run into unexpected storms, and our little boat is covered by the waves, does the Saviour have to rebuke us as He rebuked His disciples, "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" Take courage, the [22] Master is on board. He will still the storm and there will be a great calm.

Chapter 14:31 - He rebukes doubt. The disciples are again in a ship and again there is a storm. Suddenly they see someone walking on the sea and their imagination runs riot. They think it is an apparition and they cry out in fear. Then Jesus speaks to them, dispelling their fear. How often in the midst of life when the winds howl around us and we are troubled and perplexed, we hear the sweet reassuring words of the Saviour, "Be of good cheer: it is I: Be not afraid."

We hear a lot about doubting Thomas, but here we have doubting Peter. As soon as he heard the Lord's "Come", he climbed over the side of the boat and began to walk on the water to Jesus. Then he took his eyes off the Lord and looked at his own circumstances, and began to sink. It is easy to criticise Peter, but haven't most, if not all, of us done exactly the same? Peter knew to call for help, and immediately the hand of Jesus was extended to him and saved him from sinking. Then came His rebuke, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" O the longsuffering of the Saviour. We fail Him times without number, yet His hand is always stretched out to us in love and mercy.

As soon as Jesus entered the ship the wind ceased. He is still the same today, calming our fears, stilling the tempest and sheltering us from the harsh winds. When others see Jesus working in our lives, they will be drawn to Him, and like the others on that ship say, "of a truth Thou art the Son of God".

Chapter 16:8 - He rebukes reasoning. Christ had been performing a host of miracles amongst the great multitude which surrounded Him. He cast out devils, made the lame to walk, the blind to see, the dumb to speak, the maimed were restored, and then because of His compassion and love for the great throng He fed 4,000 with seven loaves and a few little fish. The Pharisees and Sadducees were never far away, and this was no exception. Along they came to tempt Him, asking for a sign from Heaven. Our Lord answered them, telling them a few home truths and left them to digest His words.

His disciples came along and He told them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had forgotten to bring bread, and so they thought the Lord was reprimanding them. He knew their thoughts, and He rebuked their reasoning, "O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?" He went on to remind them of how He had fed 5,000 with five loaves and 4,000 with seven loaves and also of the "left overs" on both occasions.

How could they have forgotten so soon, especially when they helped to organise the crowds, distribute the food, and gather the remnants? Before we judge the disciples too harshly, let's take a look at ourselves. Do we always remember the tender mercies and loving kindnesses of God to us. Don't we sometimes try to balance our reasoning with God's sovereignty?

Care, fear, doubt and reasoning cannot abide where Jesus is. Let us throw these weights overboard and instead of looking at ourselves and our circumstances, ".look to Jesus, the author and furnisher of our faith". [23]

The Sunday School Teacher's Teacher

Subject: The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Lesson IX - The Home at Nazareth
Lord's Day 3rd March 'He shall be called a Nazarene.'

Read - Passages referred to in the Lesson; Learn - Luke ii, 51, 52; John xiii, 15.

SKETCH OF LESSON

For thirty years we scarcely hear anything of Jesus. Only one event recorded - take that next Sunday. Today think of Him as a child and as a young man.

I. WHAT WAS GOING ON AROUND HIM DURING THE THIRTY YEARS

It matters little to you, while children, what happens at court, in parliament, etc; but what goes on now may make a difference to you when you grow up. So with Jesus: we shall understand His ministry better if know what happening all that while.

We often meet in the Gospels with Roman soldiers, laws, moneys, etc. It was during this time that they came into the country. No king now, like Herod, at Jerusalem - Roman governor at Caesarea (Pilate one of them) ruling over Judaea. in Galilee and countries beyond, two of Herod's sons, Herod Antipas and Philip, Luke iii. 1; yet under Rome - who built fine new cities named them after Roman emperors (Mark viii. 22, 27; John vi. 23) Roman soldiers here and there - the officers sometimes friendly to the Jews (Luke vii. 5) - many Jews became collectors ('publicans') of Roman taxes the emperor's likeness on the coins, etc.

But the Jews hated the Romans - 'why should we, God's chosen nation, be subject to foreigners?' - despised their brethren who became publicans, Luke v. 30, xviii. 1 1, xix. 7. When Jesus ten years old, taxing began - great insurrection, Acts v. 37.

Always longing for deliverance, Acts I. 6 All this while, where was He who should be the great King over all?

II. HIS CHOSEN DWELLING-PLACE

Nazareth - little obscure town - despised even by its near neighbours (John I. 46). Might go there now - see the same sunny valley, green hills round, trees, brooks, etc.; the well where Jesus must often have been, the rock from which they tried to throw Him afterwards, Luke iv. 29.

Why such a place chosen for the home of Jesus? Look at Matt. ii. 23. Where predicted that He should be called a Nazarene? see Isa. xi. 1 - messiah should be a 'branch' the Hebrew word Nazar, not a beautiful bough, but a poor insignificant twig (comp. Isa. liii. 2). So He lived at poor insignificant town named like twig - Nazar-eth; by its name He and His followers called, and therefore despised, Matt. xxvi. 71; John xix. 19; Acts xxiv. 5. Even in the name of His dwelling-place, see Christ's humiliation!

III. HIS DAILY LIFE

That of a poor man's son. Schools then in all the towns - no doubt He was a scholar - brought up to read the Scriptures diligently - same stories of Joseph, Samuel, David, which children love so much still - taught the texts which all little Jews repeated like a catechism, Exod. xiii. 2-16Deut. vi. 4-9, 13-22. No doubt He began early to learn to use the tools in Joseph's [24] workshop. So day by day, week by week, year by year, the Son of God lived, a little Jewish village boy.

Then as a young man, when Joseph dead - Himself the village carpenter (Mark vi. 3) - now the head of the household and guardian of His mother (see John II. 12, xix. 27) - having on Him all the duties of son, brother, neighbour, friend, citizen perhaps misunderstood and looked down upon by brethren and sisters (like David, 1 Sam. xvii. 28) - attending the synagogue every Sabbath (Luke iv. 16 - 'as His manner was'). And all this while nothing wonderful to look at - no miracles - Jesus like others, except in -

IV. HIS CHARACTER

Imagine a little boy never acting, speaking, thinking, wrongly or foolishly. Think of one in the schoolroom, at play, at home, in the street, never jealous, deceitful, selfish, disobedient, vain, passionate - always just the opposite - at evening prayer having nothing to confess - parents and teachers having nothing to punish - (illustrate further as time permits) - Jesus like that. Sufficiently like others not to make everybody curious, yet how unlike!

What does the Bible say of other children? see Prov. xvii. 25, xix. 13; Ps. lviii. 3; Job xix. 18 - do we not all know how true these words are? Even the goodness of good children so imperfect, a meek boy generally weak, a resolute boy rough. But Jesus 'strong in spirit,' and yet a pattern of gentleness (see Isa. xlii. 2). Nobody could see anything in Him which might have been altered for the better.

See what St. Luke says, II. 40, 52: -

'Strong in spirit' - how often boys strong enough in body, yet weak when tempted, no control over temper, can't bear pain or disappointment. How much He had to bear - how painful to Him the sin around Him! (comp. 1 Pet. ii. 18).

'Filled with wisdom' (see Isa. xi. 2-5) then no room for folly - how many have no room for wisdom!

'Increased in wisdom and stature' - how many good and studious boys decrease in wisdom as they grow!

'In favour with God and man' - some boys do please men, but how often is it just by displeasing God - which of us pleases both? where is the boy with whom God always more and more 'well-pleased'?

Why all this? THAT HE MIGHT BE AN EXAMPLE FOR ALL.

You might say, How can I copy Him who went about preaching, working miracles etc.? But here is an example for the little child, the schoolboy, the youth at work, the grown man toiling for his daily bread. You can do no great thing? neither did Jesus, yet he lived a perfect life; just going on, day after day, doing the little duties that came before Him. Does God require more of us? See Rom. xii. 9-13, 1 Cor. x. 31; Eph. vi. 1 - 3; 1 Thess. iv. 11.

The trivial round, the common task,
Should furnish all we ought to ask -
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

True, we cannot attain to this perfect Example. But are we to try? See Matt. xi. 29; Phil. 11. 5; John xiii. 15; 1 Pet. ii. 21; 1 John ii. 6, iii. 3. Who can 'change us into His image'? see 2 Cor. iii. 18 - only the Holy Spirit. And it is God's design that we should have that image, Rom. viii. 29.


Lesson X - The First Passover
Lord's Day 10th March 'Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?'

Read - Luke ii. 41-51; Learn - Luke II. 49, 51; Col. I. 9, 10.

SKETCH OF LESSON

In those thirty years one special event recorded - study it today.

I. GOING TO THE PASSOVER

Read verses 41, 42.

Once a year Joseph and Mary go away from home for a week or two, leaving the Child Jesus behind. Where do they go? why? Deut. xvi. 1-8; comp. 1 Sam. I. 3. Little children did not go, but at last Jesus old enough. Now can become a 'son of the law' - be admitted to all the privileges of God's chosen nation.

Two things appointed for Jews as signs [25] of God's covenant with them; one of being brought into covenant - Circumcision; one of keeping in it - Passover; both indispensable, Gen. xvii. 14; Exod. xii. 15; Numb. ix. 13. What did Circumcision mean? What did keeping the Passover mean? - commemorating Israel's deliverance from slavery and death, through their believing and obeying God about eating the lamb and sprinkling its blood.

So we have two great ordinances: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

We have seen Jesus submitting to the first rite; now we find Him observing the second.

Think of Him on the road - companies of people journeying from all parts to Jerusalem (comp. Ps. xiii. 4, [v. 14, cxxii. 1 -4) - many boys going for the first time, all eager to see the holy city they have -read and heard of. Think of Jesus there, seeing David's royal city, Temple and worshippers (had been there when an infant, not since) - then the great night of the feast solemn meeting - the lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened cakes - the hymns, etc. How wonderful to look back and think when this first done! - and to think of one of the young 'sons of the law' being Himself the true 'Passover' to whom all Passovers pointed, the very Lamb of God whose blood to be sprinkled on our hearts!

II. TARRYING IN THE TEMPLE

Read verses 43-50.

The week of solemn services over companies journeying homeward travelling all day - at evening the Child missed - how Mary and Joseph distressed would think Jesus could not be absent of his own accord, so fond and dutiful always perhaps kidnapped by His old enemies; how anxiously they seek Him (ver. 48), yet all in vain - then sadly back to the city, asking everywhere.

Where found at last? Room in Temple great doctors sitting to teach and catechise - young students seated at their feet (Acts xxii. 3) - One learner there 'full of wisdom,' giving bright, clear answers, modestly asking questions in his turn, but such questions! The doctors amazed - never such a scholar seen before (Ps. cxix. 99, 100). See Mary - no thought of who else there - enough that He is found - what does she say? - too sad not to complain, too overjoyed to rebuke.

Look at that wonderful reply - 'Why should they wonder where He was? Mary spoke of His father - did they forget WHO [25] WAS HIS TRUE FATHER? Where could He be but in that Father's house, engaged in that Father's work? did they think it was a boyish prank to stay behind - that He was dazzled by the city's splendour? was He not acting a good Son's part? MUST He not do this?'

So the Child knew who and what He was. Had Mary told Him what the angel had said? Why, she almost forgot it herself, ver. 50. How then did He know?

III. SUBMITTING TO EARTHLY TIES

Read verse 51.

Might Jesus have refused to go back? might He have then separated Himself for God's work? What was it that He did? Eighteen years yet before Messiah to be manifested. Was He, then, to go on getting all Jewish learning, sitting at the doctors' feet for years (like St. Paul)? see John vii. 15. Then what to do? (refer to last Lesson) - to be 'subject' - was that being 'about the Father's business'? - see how pleased the Father was (ver. 52). The Voice came to say so, Matt. iii. 17.

Last Sunday we saw how Jesus set us an example of fulfilling our 'duty towards our neighbour'. Today He shows us now to do our 'duty towards God'.

'About my Father's business.' So we ought all to be. How can we?

We can - (a) observe God's ordinances: Jesus kept the Passover, though needing not the redemption it spoke of. (b) Resort to God's house: if English boy missed, would he be found in church? Yet see Ps. xxvi. 8, lxv. 4, lxxxiv. (d) Seek to learn more about God's Word: if Jesus studied it, under the appointed teachers, how much more should we! (c) Yet not neglect duties to earthly friends; submit to parents, etc.

But much more than all this in the words. The locomotive engine very powerful what heavy trains it draws! - but does not go of itself - something wanted to set it and keep it going - steam.

What then do we want? What was the secret of all Jesus did? He had the will earnest desire and determination - to do God's will, Ps. xi. 7, 8. Having this will, He must' be 'about His Father's business, could not help it - and did it not as hard duty - His delight, meat and drink to Him, John iv. 34.

Have we this will? Not naturally - all like to have 'our own way', Isa. liii. 6 - dislike God's, Rom. viii. 7, 8. How to be altered? see next verse (Rom. viii. 9) - (comp. 10th [26] Article). Every day, every hour, at every turn, ask, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do'? (Acts ix. 6). Then what is the promise? Matt. vi. 33.

Lesson XI - The Forerunner
Lord's Day 17th March 'Thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.'

Read - Luke iii. 1 - 18 (comp. Matt. iii. 1-12); Learn - Isa. xl. 3-5; Luke i. 76, 77.

SKETCH OF LESSON

It is thirty years since 'all Jerusalem was troubled' by the inquiries of the Wise Men from the East; eighteen years since a Galilean boy startled the Rabbis in the Temple by his youthful wisdom. All now forgotten. Old men have died, young men become aid, children grow up. No king now. Six Roman officers have governed Judaea since then, all hated by the people as foreigners; the present one, Pontius Pilate, hated more than all. How long, they ask, are they to be subject to strangers? Shall not the Messiah now come? They hope and expect - God will surely send them a great warrior, who shall drive out their Gentile rulers, and sit on David's throne.

Suddenly, a rumour in Jerusalem people ask one another about it - a strange man has appeared in the wilderness of Judaea with the dress and appearance of the prophets of olden time (2 Kings i. 8; Zech. xiii. 4) and the rough fare of a Nazarite (Matt. iii. 4; Luke i. 15; Numb. vi.) proclaiming that 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand'. The people flock to see and hear him from all parts.

Let us ask, what he came to do? how he did it? what was the result?

I. WHAT WAS JOHN THE BAPTIST'S MISSION?

Look at what the angel said to his father when announcing his birth, Luke i. 13-17. Look at what he said of himself, John i. 23. Look at the prophecies to which the angel and he referred, Isa. xl. 3, 4; Mal. iii. 1, iv. 5, 6. When great king went on journey in those days, could not go by railway or motorway; so pioneers sent before him, to make a road through the woods and morasses and rocks, to make the rough, narrow winding paths smooth - wide straight. This just like what John had to do. He was a pioneer, a forerunner. Who was he to prepare the way for? What was it that wanted to be prepared? - the hearts of the Jews. Why? - were hard (proud and selfish) - crooked (deceitful).

II. HOW DID HE FULFIL HIS MISSION?

(1) Let us go with the crowd from Jerusalem - over Olivet - by the steep, wild, rocky way 'down from Jerusalem to Jericho' (Luke x. 30) - into the hot Jordan near where Israel crossed in Joshua's time. Look at the multitudes (see Matt. iii. 5, 7; ver. 12, 14); people of all classes, fisherman from Galilee, shepherds from 'beyond Jordan,' vinedressers from Judaea, publicans from Jericho and Capernaum, soldiers going to the war against the King of Arabia, proud Pharisees and scornful Sadducees from Jerusalem. In the midst is John - what does he say? Matt. iii. 2.

(2) Some think, why should they repent? if the King is coming, they are quite ready to join him, and fight against the Romans - what has that to do with repentance? But John tells them of their sins - of God's anger; and some begin to think that if they were trees, and the woodman came with his axe to cut down the fruitless trees, they would have to fall (see verse 9). So they come, confessing their sins, asking John how they shall mend their lives; and what does he say? Luke iii. 10 - 14.

(3) Then he takes them down into the river, baptiseth them - as a token of what? (a) That they are ready to give up their sins, and receive the coming King with 'humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient hearts'; (b) that God is ready to receive, pardon, cleanse them; see ver. 3 and Matt. iii. 6.

(4) Some turn away offended, Luke vii. 30 - why? see ver. 8. They think they are quite fit for Messiah's Kingdom, being Abraham's children: it may be right for Gentiles to be baptized when admitted into covenant, and perhaps even for Jewish [27] 'publicans and sinners'; but for them - no! But what do all need to fit them? John iii. 3; and to get that, of what use is Abraham's blood in the veins? John i. 13 ('Born, not of blood . . . but of God').

(5) But the people begin to think whether John is not the Messiah himself. And then he tells of the coming King, His greatness, His heavenly baptism that should purify the heart as well as cleanse the body, His awful power to separate the bad from the good; ver. 15-17. 


III. WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF HIS MISSION?

John was very popular, see Luke xx. 6. But did he do his appointed work? did he 'prepare the way of the Lord'? (a) Where did Jesus get His first disciples? John I. 35-42. (b) When John was murdered, where did his followers go? Matt. xiv. 12. (c) To whom did Jesus appeal when defending Himself? John v. 32-35. (d) What impression was made by John upon the people who lived near the Jordan? see John x. 40-42. (e) When John's disciples who had gone into distant lands afterwards heard Christ's Gospel, how did they receive it? see Acts xviii. 24-28, xix. 1-6.

So the 'voice crying in the wilderness' was heard long after, and far away.

Is there any work like John the Baptist's wanted now?

Yes: the King is coming again - His way to be prepared - how? - by whom?

But Christ comes now - every day - to man's hearts. He 'knocks at the door', Rev. iii. 20. Is the door often opened? Men do not care about Him. You, if told a way to get on in the world, to become rich, would listen eagerly - would go and do as advised. You are told of Friend and Saviour - don't care. What is wanted?

His Way must be prepared. How? How did John prepare the Jews' hearts? - told them of their sins. Then some did, some did not, welcome Christ - who did? - those who felt their sins and wanted a Saviour, see Luke vii. 37, xv. 1, xix. 6, 7, xxiii. 41, 42. How would a shipwrecked crew, a captive in a dungeon, a condemned criminal, receive a deliverer? Why joyfully? Because feel misery and peril. So with us - when feel sin, hearts hard as rough road will be soft, hearts deceitful as crooked path will be straight (sincere).

Who can soften hearts - so prepare them to welcome Christ? Ezek. xxxvi. 26. The Holy Spirit reveals sin, John xvi. 8.

Lesson XII - The Baptism, Fasting and Temptation
Lord's Day 24th March 'In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.'

Read - Matt. iii. 13-17, iv. 1 - 11; Learn - Luke iii. 21, 22; Heb. ii. 17, 18.

SKETCH OF LESSON

In our last lesson we talked about John the Baptist. Whet was the work he had to do? How did he do it? What was the result? (Recapitulate.) Today see how John received the King whose way he had prepared.

I. AT THE JORDAN

(1) Let us stand by the Jordan again. John is there. He has been baptizing many people - as a sign of what? (refer to last lesson.) Then comes One to be baptized, a Galilean carpenter, looking like other men but who was He? John recognises Him as a relative (Luke I. 36), though he has seen Him but little, their lives having been so [27] different. Does he know Him to be the Messiah, the Son of God? see John i. 31. But he knows His pure, upright, gentle character; he feels that even he himself, the prophet of God, is unworthy to baptize such a man; and what does he say?

(2) Was John right to be surprised? What was his baptism the sign of? Did Jesus need repentance and forgiveness? See 2 Cor. v. 21; Heb. vii. 26; 1 John iii. 5. But He had come to take our sins upon Him, to be 'numbered with the transgressors'; whatever is 'right' for them to do, He also must do it all, and so 'fulfil all righteousness'. And now in this, too, He will be even as the rough soldiers and the degraded publicans. [28]

(Illust. - King and rebels - rebels come and lay down arms before king - would innocent man come with them? - would not like to be 'numbered with rebels' - This Jesus did.)

(3) He steps down the bank into the river. He ascends it again praying (Luke iii. 21). And now look! The heaven is cleft asunder, light streams down, there is a wondrous form descending upon Him; and then a Voice from on high. Who were these Three - the One speaking from heaven - the One standing on the earth - the One coming down from heaven to earth? Different Persons - all divine - but not three Gods - what do we call them?

(4) See what that Voice said. (a) What did it tell John? That this cousin of his, this plain mechanic of Nazareth, whose beautiful and holy life he has marked almost with awe, is the very King Himself, whose approach he has been proclaiming. How does he know this? and what else is revealed to him? John i. 33, 34. (b) What did it tell Jesus! That it was just when He, the Sinless One, humbled Himself to be baptized as a sinner, that the Father was so 'well-pleased' (comp. Isa. liii. 10; Phil. ii. 8-10). What love and condescension!

II. IN THE WILDERNESS

(1) Jesus is now 'anointed with the Holy Ghost' (cts x. 38) - ready to come forth before the people as their King and Prophet. See 1 Sam. x. 1, xvi. 1, 12, 13; 1 Kings xix. 16; Ps. lxxxix. 20. We too must have the Spirit - but why? (Rom. viii. 7-9) - He not like that, and yet He was, as a man, under the guidance of the Spirit, just as we have to be. But how different from us: we resist and provoke the Spirit; He was 'full of the Holy Ghost' (Luke iv. 1, see John iii. 34). But here does the Divine Guide now take Him? - to Jerusalem? (Read chap. iv. 1 - 11; Mark i. 12, 13; Luke iv. 1, 2). Let us follow the Lord into the wilderness and watch Him.

(2) A wild, rocky desolate country. Wild beasts prowl about, Mark i. 13, and, men seldom pass, Jesus alone there. For forty days He eats nothing, yet He feels it not, so wrapt is He in prayer and thought. Who else fasted like that? Deut. ix. 9; 1 Kings xix. 8. And who else had a period of retirement before beginning a public work? Exod. iii. 1; Luke i. 80; Gal. 1. 16-18. So, again, Christ is willing to be just like His servants.

(3) There is one watching Jesus, full of dread and full of hatred. Satan has seen the Nazarene workman who never sinned - has heard that wondrous Voice from heaven at the Jordan - knows this lonely wanderer in the desert is the Redeemer promised so many ages before in Eden (Gen. iii. 15) - knows what He is come for, 1 John iii. 8. He will try if even that Holy One can be tempted, if even that Mighty One can be conquered.

(4) The forty days are over. The pangs of a six week's abstinence suddenly seize upon Jesus. Now, at the moment of seeming weakness, is the devil's opportunity. How Satan tempted Jesus, and how Jesus conquered Satan, we will see next Sunday. But when the conflict was over, who brought to Jesus the food for which His human body fainted? Here, again, the Master like the servants; comp. 1 Kings xix. 5; Ps. lxxviii. 25.

Thus we see the Son of God 'made in all things like unto His brethren'.

We have seen -

(a) Him who knew no sin, submitting to the baptism of repentance, like the sinful men around Him.

(b) Him who perfectly knew and loved God's will, obeying the inward guiding of the Holy Spirit, just as we, who cannot otherwise do right, ought to do.

(c) Him to whom all the earth belongs, patiently suffering for want of the commonest food.

(d) Him who is the Lord of angels, condescending to be tempted by the prince of the fallen angels, and to be tended by His own unfallen angels.

Let us adore His wondrous love. All this was for us.

Let us strive to be like Him who was content to be like us. How?

Do we confess sin, and seek cleansing?

Do we pray to 'be filled with the Spirit', and obey His 'godly motions'?

Do we 'use such abstinence' (from all earthly indulgence) that 'our flesh may be subdued to the Spirit'?

Do we bear patiently any suffering God may send upon us?

Do we steadfastly 'resist the devil'? [29]

Lesson XIII - The Three Temptations
Lord's Day 31st March 'In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.'


Read
- Matt. iv. 1 -. 11; Learn - Heb. iv. 15; James iv. 7; Ps. xvii. 5.

SKETCH OF LESSON

Today we are to look a little more at the Temptation of Christ. Where did we leave Him? how long had He been there? At the end of the forty days what was Jesus suffering from? (Recapitulate) Now Satan appears - thinks a chance now - how does he begin?

THE FIRST TEMPTATION

Satan reminds Jesus of the voice at His baptism - 'Are you the Son of God? Has God left His Son to perish with hunger? Can He be your Father? But if you are the Son Of God, you need not perish you have power - exert it; if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread'. Does Jesus falter? Does He doubt the Father's love? Will He work a miracle for Himself? He simply rejects the temptation altogether.

But how? Does He argue with Satan about His being the Son of God? He leaves that alone. He just takes His place as a man. Weak sinful men were sustained by God without earthly food, not for forty days, but for forty years, see Deut. viii. 2-6. He quotes God's very words to them, and is content, like them and all other men, to depend simply on the Father's bounty.

THE SECOND TEMPTATION

The devil can do nothing with such simple child-like trust - but, perhaps, by flattering it, he may make it presumptuous. They stand on the edge of a lofty tower on the Temple wall. Down far below is the Valley of Jehoshaphat - so far below that one cannot look down for giddiness. Satan points down there - 'Shew how much you trust your Father by throwing yourself over - fear not lest you fall - you trust in the Father - remember how the Scriptures you quoted speak of His angels having charge of His children - 'if thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down'.'

And why should He not? Because this is not God's appointed way of honouring His Son. And Jesus will shew men that to expect God's blessing when they are not walking in His appointed ways (see Ps. xci. 11), is to 'tempt God' - and whatever may seem harmless, to do that is to sin, Deut. vi. 16.

THE THIRD TEMPTATION

Satan will make one last effort. Ever since the Fall he has been the 'god and prince of this world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4; John xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. 11. He knows this Galilean is really the Son of God, come to claim His usurped throne. Can he get Him to receive it from himself, and so acknowledge his supremacy? Before those eyes which had for thirty years looked on the familiar hills of Galilee he now displays the treasures and glory of his vast empire - 'That shall be yours - only do me homage'.

How could this be a temptation to the holy Saviour? It offered - (1) that His kingdom, which should put an end to all the sin and misery that so pained Him, should begin at once - (2) that He should gain that kingdom without conflict and suffering. But Jesus will not do evil that good may come. (Comp. David, 1 Sam. xxiv.) 'The cup that His Father has given Him, shall He not drink it?' John xviii. 1 1. See Heb. ii. 9, 10; Phil. ii. 8-11; Isa. liii. 12. In holy wrath He spurns the tempter from His presence.

But how, again? Not as the Son of God who ought Himself to be worshipped - not as having power over all and so power over Satan; no, but as a man, as one of us. He, a man, must obey God's laws; He, a loyal subject, must worship none but God.

Satan leaves Him 'for a season'. When did he return? Look how, with unwearied subtlety, he afterwards employed priests, and even an apostle, to assail Jesus, Matt. xxvii. 40, xvi. 22, 23. Think, too, of His own final attack in the Garden and on the Cross, see John xiv. 30; Luke xxii. 53.

Why should the Son of God submit to all this! (Refer to motto of preceding lesson.)

Was not Satan a fearful adversary to contend against? The same adversary assails us now. See Job i. 7; Luke xxii. 31; Eph. vi. 12; 1 Pet. v. 8. And with the same temptations, sometimes to doubt God's love, [30] sometimes to 'tempt God', sometimes to do evil that good may come. What shall we do?

1. Look to Christ for sympathy. See Heb. 18, iv. 15; Luke xxii. 31, 32. Are we in the midst of 'those evils which the craft and subtlety of the devil worketh against us'? Let us 'cast our care upon Him, for He careth for us'.

'He knows what sore temptations mean For he has felt the same.'

2. Look to Christ for example. How can we copy Him? (a) Resist the devil, Jas. iv. 7; 1 Pet. v. 9. Watch against the first suggestions even to seemingly little sins, Ps. xxxix. 1; Matt. xxvi. 41; 1 Thess. v. 22. Struggle against continuous and repeated temptations, Eph. vi. 10-13; Hob. xii. 4; Luke xxi. 36; 1 Cor. xvi. 13. (b) Use God's Word as your weapon, and have it always ready, Eph. vi. 17; Heb. iv. 12; Ps. xvii. 4, xxxvil. 31, cxix. 1 1.

3. Look to Christ for strength. Satan is stronger than we, but Christ is stronger still. Do all in dependence on Him, 2 Cor. xii. 9; Eph. vi. 16; with constant prayers such as Ps. xvii. 5, xlx. 13; Matt. vi. 13.

NOTE

These lessons were prepared by Eugene Stock and published in 1875 by the Church of England Sunday School Institute. Hence a few references to the Church Catechism and the Church of England view of Baptism, Confirmation, etc. which we would not agree with.

The great C. H. Spurgeon said of these lessons, "Teachers and preachers have here more matter given them on the lesson than they are likely to use. Admirable! Thoroughly commendable". We heartily agree with the great preacher and that is why we are reproducing them for today. - Editor

Ordination of Mr. Robert Ormerod

Too many churches today are trying to entertain people with sports and recreation clubs.

They are not fulfilling the tasks set before them in the Bible, the Rev. Ian Paisley has warned.

The Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church was speaking on Monday night, 4th February 1985, at the ordination of the Rev. Robert Ormerod as minister of Cloughmills Free Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Paisley was making the charge to the new minister and congregation when he was critical of those who set up sports clubs in church halls where [31] people should instead be praying and preaching the gospel.

He declared, "There are many churches who have darts clubs and ping-pong alleys and all sorts of things. They are not always praying or preaching the word. I do not believe the church has anything to do with the entertainment of any age group."

He said God had called the church for a special, specific and single task in and out of season.

He contended that his view would be an unpopular one and he would be labelled a puritan and narrow-minded. But it did not say in the Bible that the church should start badminton or indoor bowling clubs.

He added, "That has nothing to do with the work of the church. The work of the church is preaching the Word."

Dr. Paisley said people today did not want to hear a preacher and many wanted the service to end as quickly as possible.

His text in his charge to the Minister was taken from 2 Timothy, chapter 4.

Preaching Ministry

He told the new Minister never to forget he stood before God and the shadow of Judgement Day. The gospel ministry was a preaching ministry and he prayed for a revival of the Word in the locality.

Dr. Paisley's charge to the congregation was based on Hebrews, chapter 13 in which he said they should remember their new Minister every day; pray for him and encourage him.

He described the occasion as an important one in the history of Cloughmills and a milestone in the work for God in the area.

The ordination sermon was given by the Rev. Austin Allen of Tandragee. His text was taken from 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17 and from chapter 6. The theme of his address was the ministry of reconciliation.

Mr. Allen said God was the author of that ministry, Christ the agent and man the ambassador.

Man needed education and employment but his supreme need was for God's salvation.

The service was led by the Rev. John Long of Rasharkin who has been looking after the Cloughmills congregation. He and his wife received gifts from Mr. Robert McIlhagga on behalf of the church.

Prayers were offered by the Rev. John Wylie and the Rev. George Whyte, Coleraine and the Scripture reading given by the Rev. Jim Hartin, Portavogie.

The prescribed questions to the Minister Elect were put by Mr. Whyte and the ordination prayer made by Dr. Paisley.

During the service the new Minister gave his testimony.

The small church was packed to capacity for the occasion with extra seating having to be brought in.

Mr. Ormerod (31), who is married, comes from Belfast.

(Ballymoney Chronicle Report)