Worship for Jan. 23/01/05 McConachie Creek, BC
- At the home of Cathie-Iris:Soles
McConachie Creek, BC
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
Prayer before Sermon penned July 19, 1998 by Grant Albert Soles
Our Father in heaven Hallowed be Thy Name; Honour, glory and majesty belong only to Thee,
all of creation is Thine and we ourselves.
The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handywork, daily and at night,
to every man throughout the earth revealing Thy eternal power and Godhead.
How much clearer do we perceive Thee through Thy most excellent Word the Son and His
propets and apostles and law and gospel, in this book the Bible, for in Him was life and the life was
the light of men.
Yet for all the revelation of Thyself given to us, we confess our dullness and inability to comprehend
any of it except the ability come from Thee. We acknowledge our great sinfulness we have all inherited
from the first man and our rebel heart has depraved and poisoned us in soul and body and defiles even
our best actions. And if Thou did not restrain us we would do the worst of the worst. Not only do we break
Thy commandments doing that which is forbidden and aggravating our sins but we also refuse to do that
which is good, accepting Thy offers of grace and mercy through the gospel despising the riches of Thy
goodness and not walking worthy of Christ in our lives.
Rightly affect us with our sin O God to bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, unbelief, lukewarmness,
for not exercising godliness in the power thereof, for not holding to our covenant obligations.
Affect us to know our quilt and unworthiness of Thy slightest mercy, as being worthy of Thy fiercest wrath and
curse, and worthy that Thy Word and gospel be taken from us altogether and us sent into everlasting torment.
Yet all of this we come before Thee according to Thy command, with thanksgiving, being encouraged that
Thou hast not dealt with us according to our sins but by Thy mercy through that One Mediator who took the
curse on us as His own, who intercedes for us. By Him we earnestly ask for mercy, for the forgiveness of our
sins. Shed abroad Thy love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit giving us that full assurance of pardon and
reconciliation comforting our heart. For any here who may yet be under the power of sin, open their eyes,
convince their consciences, turn them from Satan unto God that thy receive forgiveness and an inheritance in
Christ. In this we pray for our children for they too need mercy. Give them attentive ears today and the desire
to please Thee.
We request the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ in all nations, that the Jews be converted
according to Thy promises, the fullness of the Gentiles be brought in, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening
of the second coming of our Lord.
Deliver Thy oppressed church in areas of antichristian persecution, for all are not as free as we are. Cause
their distress to work for their peace.
In our land reform Thy Church in doctrine, worship, and government and return it to those godly and lawful
standards given her in earlier times. Heal her divisions and give her true shepherds, holy, sober, just , faithful
and powerful in ministry.
We ask for those in authority in our land that we be able to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and
honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. In this we ask that Thou wouldest convert
the elect and remove Thine enemies. Cause the State to defend and promote Thy truth and Thy people.
We give thanks for those in authority over us in this church. Our elders and minister and ask Thy blessing on them
this day especially Greg Price as he dispenses the Bread of life that it be in wisdom, fidelity, zeal, rightly understood.
We pray for those of our number who are not with us, that they be blessed in Thy presence This Lord's Day.
We remember Jeff Unruh in prison that he find solace and comfort in Thee and that he would grow in the grace
and knowledge of our Lord, and be united with family soon ( Jeff is home with his family in 2005....cis )
And now for our part because we have many time been unfruitful hearers and because we cannot receive Thy
truth on our own, pour out Thy gracious Spirit on us and cause us to attain to such a measure of the excellency of
knowledge of Christ and to the things which belong to our peace, that we may account all other things as garbage
in comparison with Him, and we long for a more full and perfect communion with Him.
In Jesus Name Amen.
The Psalms of David in Metre
with Notes by John Brown of Haddington
A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.
This psalm was no doubt composed to celebrate some remark able victory or deliverance, in the days of David,
or Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20; or of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 19. We have here, (1.) Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel,
and type of the gospel church and heavenly state, celebrated for her beauty and relation to God, as the residence
of his temple and ordinances, ver. 1-2. (2.) Jehovah, the God of Israel, celebrated for his kind and powerful protection
of Jerusalem, and for making her enemies flee off with much precipitation and terror, ver. 3-7. (3.) The people of God,
particularly in Jerusalem, meditating upon, and celebrating the gracious and mighty things, which God had, or would
do for them, and for his discoveries of himself to them; and promising themselves sure and lasting happiness in his
relation to, and direction of them, ver. 8-14.
While I sing these verses, let me be deeply affected with the glory, with the privileges, and chiefly with the God of the
Christian church, and of the new-covenant state, and of the new Jerusalem, which is above, which is the mother,
and the desired city of us all.
1 Great is the Lord, and greatly he
is to be praised still,
Within the city of our God,
upon his holy hill.
2 Mount Sion stands most beautiful,
the joy of all the land;
The city of the mighty King
on her north side doth stand.
3 The Lord within her palaces
is for a refuge known.
4 For, lo, the kings that gather'd were
together, by have gone.
5 But when they did behold the same,
they, wond'ring, would not stay;
But, being troubled at the sight,
they thence did haste away.
6 Great terror there took hold on them;
they were possess'd with fear;
Their grief came like a woman's pain,
when she a child doth bear.
7 Thou Tarshish ships with east wind break'st:
8 As we have heard it told,
So, in the city of the Lord,
our eyes did it behold;
In our God's city, which his hand
for ever stablish will.
9 We of thy loving-kindness thought,
Lord, in thy temple still.
10 O Lord, according to thy name,
through all the earth's thy praise;
And thy right hand, O Lord, is full
of righteousness always.
11 Because thy judgments are made known,
let Sion mount rejoice;
Of Judah let the daughters all
send forth a cheerful voice.
12 Walk about Sion, and go round;
the high tow'rs thereof tell:
13 Consider ye her palaces,
and mark her bulwarks well;
That ye may tell posterity.
14 For this God doth abide
Our God for evermore; he will
ev'n unto death us guide.
Greg Price <covpastor@...>
Friday 08:33:24 am
Laughter As A Disguise For Emptiness
Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church, Albany NY
January 16, 2005
Rev. Greg L. Price
Laughter is a divine medicine to the soul when used
properly. It lifts the spirit and improves the health
of the body. Many studies have been done showing the
relationship of laughter to good health.
For example, Nicole Nisly, M.D. from the University of
Iowa Hospital writes in her article entitled "Laughter
Is Medicine From Within" (September 2003):
"Laughter recently got a boost when researchers
announced at an American Heart Association meeting
last November that heart-healthy people are more
likely to laugh frequently and heartily than those
with heart disease," says Nicole Nisly, M.D., UI
Hospitals and Clinics Complementary and Alternative
The benefits of laughter go beyond heart disease.
Laughter has been found to decrease tension and reduce
pain. It also appears to boost the body's production
of infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter even has
the potential to help in the treatment of depression
and other emotional illnesses.
God's people should be those who are unafraid to
express their joy with laughter. Yes, there is a time
to weep, but there is also a time to laugh (according
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:4).
Solomon raises the matter of laughter for our
consideration this Lord's Day. What role does
laughter play in the life of a Christian? Are there
any boundaries that we should set around our laughter?
Will immersing ourselves in laughter bring
contentment and peace of heart?
Let us consider this Lord's Day the following main
points from our text: (I) Solomon's Experiment With
Laughter (Ecclesiastes 2:1) and (II) Solomon's
Conclusion Concerning Laughter (Ecclesiastes 2:1,2).
I.Solomon's Experiment With Laughter (Ecclesiastes
A. By way of review, let us remember that in the last
few verses of Chapter One, we saw how Solomon gave
himself to a study of all the activities, employments,
and pleasures of man from a mere earthly perspective
of one who lives "under the sun." And all Solomon
could discover by way of his thorough investigation
was that all of man's activities were both physically
and mentally exhausting with nothing by way of true
happiness to show for it. It was all unending
activity and meaningless movement as it relates to
finding a peace of mind and contentment of the soul
that endures. King Solomon even investigated the
value of worldly wisdom and perverse folly to see if
true joy might come from a pursuit of these. But to
no avail. Worldly wisdom had no superiority over
perverse folly in bringing true happiness to man. A
worldly wisdom only increased his grief and sorrow
over not finding the joy that he so much desired.
B. Now Solomon turns in Chapter Two to various
pleasures which he personally investigated in order to
bring an enduring satisfaction and fulfillment into
his life. The first pleasure in which Solomon
immersed himself was that of mirth (or gladness) which
issues forth in laughter. Perhaps Solomon reasoned
from a mere earthly perspective as follows: "If any
particular frame of mind might be geared toward
enjoyment, it would seem to be that of outward glee
and amusement. If tears and sorrow bring pain to the
soul, then laughing and feasting must bring joy to the
1. Solomon turns again to reasoning with himself
about the place where he might find true joy and
contentment: "I said in mine heart" (Ecclesiastes
a. There is certainly nothing wrong with this type
of self-talk wherein you carefully weigh the
advantages and the disadvantages of a particular
decision. This is precisely what a godly person
should do. One who is godly will not run quickly into
important decisions, but will rather meditate, reflect
upon God's Word and Providence, and will pray.
Important decisions are not made rashly, but
patiently. When making important decisions, we should
debate and argue ourselves into the right decision by
carefully weighing all of the advantages and
disadvantages of that decision in accordance with
God's Word. The problem here occurs because Solomon
is not using God's Word to help give him direction,
but is rather reflecting on what will bring him joy
apart from a consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ
and His revealed will. Solomon is thinking and acting
as though God has nothing to say about the matter of
joy and contentment in his life.
b. Dear ones, this is the starting point of
Solomon's defection from the Lord. He has forgotten
the Lord and has left his first love. The Scripture
tells us very specifically that when Solomon devoted
himself to his idolatrous wives that they turned his
heart away from the Lord his God (1 Kings 11:4). You
can tell that you are heading for a fall away from the
Lord when Jesus Christ and His glory and Jesus Christ
and His Word are not in your affections, nor in your
thoughts, nor in your decisions. When all that is
important is that you get your own way you have
forgotten the Lord. You may even argue with yourself
that you are not being selfish, but are really
thinking of what is best for everyone involved (what
is best for the greatest number of
people--utilitarianism). But dear ones, whether you
are purely self-centered in your decision or whether
you sincerely want what is best for the greatest
number of people, you have begun to backslide if
Christ and His Word are not in your affections,
thoughts, and decisions.
c. What is amazing about Solomon's fall away from
God is not only the fact that he enjoyed a greater
measure of divine wisdom than any other man (except
Christ), but that he seems to have enjoyed such a
blessed communion with Christ for the greater part of
his life. For 1 Kings 11:4 states that when Solomon
was "old" his idolatrous wives turned his heart away
from the Lord. Furthermore, the loving marital
relationship between Solomon and his bride in the Song
of Songs beautifully signifies that blessed communion
he and all believers enjoy with Christ by faith. What
a warning to us all that even though we have been
faithful Christians for many years, if we allow our
desires and the pleasures of this life to overwhelm
us, we too will fall away from the Lord and reap the
sorrow and grief that Solomon reaped. But the story
of Solomon does not end on that note thankfully. For
Solomon speaks in Ecclesiastes as the restored and
repentant Preacher. Christ had surely gone after
Solomon with an everlasting love and by His almighty
power rescued him from his rebellion and idolatry.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he
loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for
our sins" (1 John 4:10).
2. What did Solomon say in his heart according to
a. First he said, "Go to now" or literally "Go now"
(Ecclesiastes 2:1). Solomon commands himself to go
now, get busy, and be resolved in getting on with his
investigation. This verbal phrase denotes a settled
determination on his part. If true joy was to be
found in partying and laughter, Solomon had set out to
b. The second thing Solomon says in his heart is
this: "I will prove thee with mirth" (Ecclesiastes
2:1). Solomon is saying here, "I will test you, my
heart, with gladness, festivities, and laughing to see
whether your hunger after true satisfaction can be
realized by these means."
c. The third thing Solomon said in his heart is
this: "therefore enjoy pleasure" (Ecclesiastes 2:1).
Literally, Solomon said, "And see (or enjoy) thou with
the good." Let me unpack that for you.
as Solomon had said that he had determined to prove
his soul WITH MIRTH (which includes gladness,
amusement, and laughter) to see whether true joy might
be found in them, so now he adds a command to his soul
to see or enjoy itself WITH THE GOOD (namely, with
mirth, amusement, and laughter). Solomon here calls
mirth a "good thing." In what sense did Solomon refer
to mirth as a good thing?
(2) Now remember that
Solomon is not evaluating that which is good from
God's perspective at this point, but from man's
perspective (as one from "under the sun"). Solomon
calls mirth (or gladness, amusement, and laughter)
good because he thinks mirth will bring him lasting
joy and happiness. No doubt, there is a sense in
which mirth, gladness and laughter is good and
beneficial to the health of even those who live their
lives apart from God (as noted in the article to which
I referred earlier in the sermon). But, dear ones,
the mirth, amusement, and laughter of the world
without Christ will not bring a satisfaction that
endures forever. It will only bring such a person
whistling to the brink of destruction, and then he
will realize all too late that he has laughed himself
all the way to hell and everlasting torment.
(3) Let us be clear that the Christian, according
to Solomon in Proverbs 17:22, should be one who has a
MERRY heart ("A merry heart doeth good like a
medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones"). The
same Hebrew word used for MERRY in Proverbs 17:22 is
here used for MIRTH in Ecclesiastes 2:1 (the only
difference being that the word is used as an adjective
in Proverbs 17:22 to describe a particular kind of
heart, a MERRY heart, whereas it is used as a noun in
Ecclesiastes 2:1). Thus, there is a godly mirth that
we as Christians should know in our hearts. There is
a godly laughter that we as Christians should express
in our lives. What is the difference between a godly
mirth and an ungodly mirth or between a godly laughter
and an ungodly laughter? Let's first consider godly
mirth and laughter and that mirth and laughter that is
(4) Godly mirth and laughter should be an
expression of God's goodness to us as God's people
(Psalm 126:2; Deuteronomy 16:11; 1 Timothy 6:17).
When we see how good God has been to us, we must
should our joy with gladness and laughter. Thus,
times of celebration as at birthdays, anniversaries,
graduations, weddings, promotions at work, or
gatherings for fellowship should be filled with mirth
and laughter for by our laughter we should be giving
thanks to God for all His undeserved blessings to us.
Wine is said by God to make the heart of man glad in a
godly sense (in Psalm 104:15) and sweet smelling
ointment and perfume so likewise (in Proverbs 27:9)
where the same Hebrew word is used as in Proverbs
17:22 for these are all undeserved gifts from our
gracious God that we are to use for His glory. That
which is moral and upright brings godly mirth to the
heart of man (as a wise son in Proverbs 15:20;
Proverbs 29:2). Encouragement brings gladness and
mirth to a soul that is stooped over with heavy
burdens (Proverbs 12:25). Days of God's people
gathering to praise the Lord should be days of mirth
and joy in the Lord (Nehemiah 8:9-12--Feast of
Trumpets, see also Deuteronomy 12:7--Bringing in the
tithes to the Lord, Deuteronomy 16:11--Feast of
(5) Ungodly mirth and laughter is that which is
directed in derision against God, against God's
people, against God's blessings, and against God's
Word (Psalm 22:7; Genesis 18:13; Proverbs 15:21). It
is an ungodly mirth and laughter that is used in
excess or is used at inappropriate times (James 4:9).
If we laugh at sins (whether in the form of course
jokes, or sinful behavior in person or in movies) we
are using an ungodly mirth and laughter. Dear ones,
how much of the humor of the world (whether jokes on
TV, or in movies, or at the workplace) either has the
audience laughing with mockery at that which is
righteous or laughing with approval at that which is
wicked. Laughter is a gift from God, but it must
never be used to imply our approval of that which is
immoral. We must not be entertained by that which is
morally repugnant to God (profane or blasphemous
speech which drags through the gutter that which is
holy, or course or filthy jokes, or lewd behavior).
If we laugh with disrespect when we are justly
corrected or disciplined by God or others, we have
sinned against the Lord. It is also an ungodly use of
mirth and laughter to place in them our hope to bring
us true joy and satisfaction.
(6) When we think that we can fill up the
emptiness in our lives by merely introducing laughter
or partying into our lives, we have deceived ourselves
and have fallen into the same sin as did Solomon.
Laughter is not an end in itself. For if we make
laughter an end in itself, we will find it to be a
dead end. Laughter should lead us to enjoy God, enjoy
God's blessings, enjoy God's people, and enjoy God's
salvation. Not everything must be spiritual (in a
narrow sense) before we can enjoy it. We can enjoy
with much laughter playing with our children or
grandchildren. We can enjoy with mirth various
hobbies or lawful forms of recreation. We can enjoy
(with gladness) whatever God has blessed us with
(according to 1 Timothy 6:17). However, when mirth
and laughter lead our hearts away from God, away from
His commandments, away from a proper enjoyment and
respect for God's blessings freely bestowed upon us,
we have fallen into a sinful use of mirth and
(7) Doesn't the Lord Himself laugh at the wicked?
Yes, it is true that God laughs at the wicked
(according to Psalm 2:4). But it is clear that it is
not with any approval of their sin, but rather with
complete disapproval of their vain attempts to
overthrow his Anointed One whom He has seated upon His
throne. Certainly, in the same sense we may laugh at
the vain attempts of our enemies to overthrow the
kingdom of Christ.
(8) How do we reconcile this godly mirth and
laughter with what Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:3?
(a) First, the mirth and laughter of the godly is
not opposed to the sorrowful heart of the godly.
There is no contradiction here at all. For there can
be no true joy in the heart of the godly if they do
not first know what it is to mourn over their own sin
and the sin of others. Jesus said, "Blessed are they
that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew
5:4). It is through our sincere grief of sin that we
are brought to see with a believing joy and mirth that
our only hope in overcoming sin in our lives is Jesus
(b) The contrast in Ecclesiastes 7:3 is not
between a godly sorrow and a godly joy, but between a
godly sorrow and an ungodly mirth. For we see the
proper contrast in verses 4-6.
(c) Thus, the true Christian religion is not
filled with all gloom and doom. It is a religion to
be taken seriously because life and death, heaven and
hell will stand or fall upon one's faith or unbelief
in Jesus Christ. But Jesus came to bring life, peace,
and joy to man and to bring it more abundantly. He
came to make our joy full. He came that we might
enjoy all that He has created to a much more full
capacity than any unbeliever is able to do (1 Timothy
6:17). God is not a kill-joy. Satan is the ultimate
kill-joy who brings on momentary laughter so that
people laugh themselves all the way to the lake of
fire. Jesus Christ is the ultimate joy of man's
desiring. To enjoy Christ is the only way to find
true joy now and for all eternity. Let us not follow
our sinful hearts to find joy, but let us know our
Savior, commune with Him through His Word and prayer,
cherish and practice His Word in our lives, and then
we will have a merry heart.
II. Solomon's Conclusion Concerning Laughter
A. The conclusion to Solomon's thorough search into
mirth and laughter (apart from communion with Christ)
is the same as every other pursuit Solomon made to
find joy: "this is also vanity" (Ecclesiastes 2:1).
Dear ones, if the joy (or mirth) of the Lord is not
your strength, you will not enjoy a godly laughter in
anything else that you do. You will find what Solomon
found: all such mirth and laughter is vanity, a mere
vapor that is so short-lived and passes away so
quickly and what is left in the soul is simply that
same vacuum or absence of true joy.
B. Solomon goes even further in stating the
conclusion to his pursuit of true joy and contentment
in verse 2.
1. First, to pursue laughter in order to find true
joy is madness or foolishness. It is like starving
oneself in order to fill the belly. Or like jumping
into an icy river in order to get warm. For in
pursuing laughter in order to find true joy only
reveals to a man that he has not found true joy.
Laughing that is separated from Jesus Christ is in
effect laughing at the very chains that shackle you
and enslave you to an eternity of hopelessness and
helplessness in everlasting torment. One who can
laugh at that which is immoral, profane, and sinful is
mad for he is laughing at that for which men will be
tormented forever (without relief for even a second)
2. Second, to pursue mirth in order to find true joy
leads nowhere. That is the point of the rhetorical
question: "and of mirth, what doeth it?" What does
mirth (apart from the joy of the Lord) accomplish in
satisfying the soul of man? Nothing.
Dear ones, Solomon with his wealth had more
opportunity to realize true joy if it could be
realized by means of mirth and laughter. For he could
afford to hire the best entertainers, the best
comedians, the best plays, and he could afford to keep
them coming for 24 hours a day if he wanted to do so.
So many people seek to bury their sorrow, their
discontentment, their emptiness within by filling
their lives with entertainment, amusements, and
laughter. All they are doing, however, is coming to
realize more and more that true joy and lasting
satisfaction is not found in these things. The world
learns where true joy is not found and that is why the
world continues its search because it never is
satisfied. However, the one who drinks of the water
of life that is found in Jesus Christ learns that true
joy is found only in Christ. The search is over. We
have found it. Let us come daily to Christ to drink
of the wells of salvation, joy, and peace that are in
our Savior. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and
to present you faultless before the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior,
be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now
and ever. Amen" Jude 1:24,25