Saturday, December 22, 2007
What is the secret spot which infallibly betokens the child of God? It were vain presumption to decide this upon our own judgment; but God's word reveals it to us, and we may tread surely where we have revelation to be our guide. Now, we are told concerning our Lord, "to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on His name." Then, if I have received Christ Jesus into my heart, I am a child of God. That reception is described in the same verse as believing on the name of Jesus Christ. If, then, I believe on Jesus Christ's name--that is, simply from my heart trust myself with the crucified, but now exalted, Redeemer, I am a member of the family of the Most High. Whatever else I may not have, if I have this, I have the privilege to become a child of God. Our Lord Jesus puts it in another shape. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." Here is the matter in a nutshell. Christ appears as a shepherd to His own sheep, not to others. As soon as He appears, His own sheep perceive Him--they trust Him, they are prepared to follow Him; He knows them, and they know Him--there is a mutual knowledge--there is a constant connection between them. Thus the one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret mark of God's children? Then let not an hour pass over your head till you have said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart." Trifle not here, I adjure you! If you must trifle anywhere, let it be about some secondary matter: your health, if you will, or the title deeds of your estate; but about your soul, your never-dying soul and its eternal destinies, I beseech you to be in earnest. Make sure work for eternity.
From Morning and Evening for December 22
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Bridge there is none: we must go through the waters and feel the rush of the rivers. The presence of God in the flood is better than a ferryboat. Tried we must be, but triumphant we shall be; for Jehovah Himself, who is mightier than many waters, shall be with us. Whenever else He may be away from His people, the LORD will surely be with them in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to an extraordinary height, but the LORD is equal to every occasion. The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making, namely, persecutions and cruel mockings, which are like a burning, fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. God being with us, we shall not be burned; nay, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us. Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. Thy presence, O LORD, is the protection of Thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Be-hold, in faith I commit myself unto Thee, and my spirit enters into rest.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Everything is controversial to somebody. In almost 40 years of preaching, I have been called a hyper-Calvinist, an Arminian, a Primitive Baptist, an Anabaptist, a Charismatic, a Presbyterian, a Babylonian, a fanatic, and I don’t know what else. If I had my choice, I’d rather you just call me a Christian. Oh, to be worthy of that name! However, if you study history, as I try to do, you’ll find that if you stand for anything, someone will call you something, often derogatory.
Since I do declare the gospel of grace of the Sovereign God, many well meaning persons say “hyper-Calvinist”. Since I also maintain that man is accountable, and that God most often uses means, including men, to reach his elect, well meaning people on the other extreme call me “Arminian”. I am working on a study on what both of these theological words mean. Meanwhile, I present to you what I believe to be a scriptural, balanced, look at evangelism.
Possibly you may not agree. But if you disagree only from your traditions of men, don’t waste your time. If you desire to be like the noble Bereans, and find scripture, in context, that refutes what I say, I’ll be glad to look at it.
As the gifted Christian writer, Arthur W. Pink said in the 1920’s (as well as in his later life), in print for all to see:
“Now then my friends, I preach the gospel to sinners, not because I believe the sinner has any power at all in himself to respond to it: I do not believe that any sinner has any capacity in himself whatever. But Christ said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” and by God’s grace I go forth preaching this Word because it is a word of power, a word of spirit, a word of life. The power is not in the sinner, it is in the Word when God the Holy Spirit is pleased to use it. And, my friends, I say it in all reverence; if God told me in this Book to go out and preach to the trees, I would go! Yes sir. God once told one of His servants to go and preach to bones and he went. I wonder if you would have gone! Yes, that has a local application as well as a future interpretation prophetically.
Now the question arises again, why are we to preach the gospel to every creature, if God has only elected a certain number to be saved? The reason is, because God commands us to do so. Well, but, you say, it does not seem reasonable to me. That has nothing to do with it; your business is to obey God and not to argue with Him. God commands us to preach the gospel to every creature, and it means what it says—every creature—and it is a solemn thing. Every Christian in this room tonight has yet to answer to Christ why he has not done everything in his power to send that gospel to every creature!” (From Free Grace Broadcaster, winter 1995).
I pray Christ’s blessing, and the Holy Spirit’s direction for you all,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Acts 4:31-33; 5:41-42; 16:25; I Corinthians 2:6-16
A recent, large flyer was mailed out from this church with these words on it: “Is the grass really greener?” This was on one side, with a background of colorful, green grass. On the other side were these words, “It sure is. Discover where the grass is greener. You are invited to join us at FBC for a morning of worship and celebration.” Then, a misquote of John 10:10 is given, but with no reference. When you saw this flyer, your first reaction was that it was from a lawn service company, not a church. Why have we come to this kind of advertising? It is sad beyond words to think that this once-spiritual church (where I encountered the holiness of God in power) has sunk to worldly promotions, falling in with “the emergent church” syndrome. “How are the mighty fallen.”
Thursday, November 8, 2007
"My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our weakness should be prized as making room for divine strength. We might never have known the power of grace if we had not felt the weakness of nature. Blessed be the LORD for the thorn in the flesh, and the messenger of Satan, when they drive us to the strength of God. This is a precious word from our LORD's own lip. It has made the writer laugh for joy. God's grace enough for me! I should think it is. Is not the sky enough for the bird and the ocean enough for the fish? The All-Sufficient is sufficient for my largest want. He who is sufficient for earth and heaven is certainly able to meet the case of one poor worm like me. Let us, then, fall back upon our God and His grace. If He does not remove our grief, He will enable us to bear it. His strength shall be poured into us till the worm shall thresh the mountains, and a nothing shall be victor over all the high and mighty ones. It is better for us to have God's strength than our own; for if we were a thousand times as strong as we are, it would amount to nothing in the face of the enemy; and if we could be weaker than we are, which is scarcely possible, yet we could do all things through Christ.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Sometimes we are very much disappointed with ourselves because we cannot pray proper prayers, only little ones that hardly seem to be prayers at all. I have been finding much comfort in the little prayers of the Gospels. They could not be more little.
There was Peter's, "Lord save me." (Matthew 14:30) The poor mother's, "Lord help me." (Matthew 15:25) Sometimes even less, no prayer at all but only the briefest telling of the trouble, "My servant lieth at home sick." (Matthew 8:6) And less than that, a thought, and a touch, "She said within herself, If I may but touch."
Again we hear of just a feeling, "They were troubled." (Matthew 14:26) and a cry, "They cried out for fear" - that was all, but it was enough.
Often in the throng of the day's work and warfare, there will not be time for more than a very little prayer - a thought, a touch, a feeling, a cry - but it is enough; so tender, so near, is the love of our Lord. -- from- Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael
Friday, October 26, 2007
"If Church history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be a vacillating Church.We minister to a people who are in great need of hearing truth,we dare not make any attempt to soft pedal that glorious truth."- Martin Luther
"The truth is as old as the everlasting hills. Therefore, dear friends, be not touched with that Athenian madness of always seeking after some new thing. Did you ever hear of new gold? To all intents and purposes, all gold that is worth having is old". - Charles Spurgeon
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Perhaps you need this verse today: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” Galatians ). To “glory” is “to boast”. Paul here says we can boast in nothing except the cross of the Lord Jesus. All of our prosperity, all of our fame (even if yours is more than 15 minutes!), all of our accomplishments, all of our power (even if you are a senator, or president or even a king), all of our doctrinal understanding, and even all the accumulated knowledge over our lifetime is nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the cross of Christ! Glory to His name!
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
-Isaac Watts -1707
(Charles Wesley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one).
“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians ).
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”
Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men.What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you, and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw others? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn, and see if it does not draw them.
No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, depraved or amiable — all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
“Conference on spiritual subjects is a most important means of grace. As iron sharpens iron, so does exchange of thoughts with brethren sharpen a believer's soul. It brings down a special blessing on all who make a practice of it. The striking words of Malachi were meant for the Church in every age --‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke often one to another--and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine says the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels.’ (Mal. 3:16, 17.)
What do we know ourselves of spiritual conversation with other Christians? Perhaps we read our Bibles, and pray in private, and use public means of grace. It is all well, very well. But if we stop short here we neglect a great privilege and have yet much to learn. We ought to ‘consider one another to provoke to love and good works.’ We ought to ‘exhort’ and ‘edify one another.’ (Heb. 10:24; 1 Thess. 5:11.) Have we no time for spiritual conversation? Let us think again. The quantity of time wasted on frivolous, trifling, and unprofitable talk, is fearfully great. Do we find nothing to say on spiritual subjects? Do we feel tongue-tied and speechless on the things of Christ? Surely if this is the case, there must be something wrong within. A heart right in the sight of God will generally find words. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’" (Matt. 12:34). From Expository Thoughts on the Gospels on Luke 24 13-20.
Friday, September 21, 2007
David was a prophet as well as a king; so was our Lord.
David was anointed about the 30th year of his life; so Christ, the son of David, was baptized and anointed at 30.
David in his wars had many poor men follow him such as were in debt; so Jesus Christ had many poor men who followed Him, and became His disciples, who were heavy laden under the burden of sin, called a debt."
Adapted from Preaching From Types and Metaphors by Benjamin Keach, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972 A.D. edition. Benjamin Keach was a Baptist Preacher in London who lived from 1640- 1704.This work was originally called Tropologia.
“The devil directs his fiercest batteries against those doctrines in the word, and those graces in the heart, which most exalt God, debase man, and bring men to their lowest subjection to their creator. Such is the doctrine and grace of justifying faith.” Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), The Existence and Attributes of God, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI ,1971 A.D. edition, page 106. edition, page 106.
Read some of his works- free, at http://www.puritansermons.com/charnock/charindx.htm
I know I am often looking at the writings of theologians of long ago, but I think it is so necessary in this day of apostasy. If you go into the average Christian bookstore, you will find so little of these classic books of yesteryear. You find a few I know, among so much lightweight, shallow reading. The most popular books in these stores are novels. Then there are the endless trinkets. I ask the clerks sometimes “Why don’t you carry Pink’s books, Spurgeon’s books, J.C. Ryle’s books, Lloyd-Jones’ books, or even R.C. Sproul’s books?” The usual answer, “We can order them, but most people don’t buy them.” That is sad, because if you are going to read anything beside your Bible, it ought to be, at least some of these classics.
Whatever you read, we owe a great debt to Johann Gutenberg (1400-1468). He is credited with inventing movable type, and a printing press that made mass printing easier. His first project was printing a Latin Bible. He saw the significance of unlocking the Bible’s treasures for the common man. He said “Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them. Let us break the seal which binds these holy things; let us give wings to truth that it may fly with the Word, no longer prepared at vast expense, but multitudes everlastingly by a machine which never wearies, to every soul which enters life.” More on this fascinating man and his work at the British Library’s site: http://www.bl.uk/treasures/gutenberg/homepage.html
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Mark Dever of Washington, D. C., says that he believes there are ten key factors to have been instrumental in the resurgence of Calvinism. This very list is one I would agree with in the main, as I was personally influenced by Banner of Truth as no other publisher. I personally started purchasing Spurgeon's sermons when Pilgrim Publications started republishing them in 1969, but never really read them until 1972, when God was pleased to awaken me to His sovereignty and the glory of His grace. Here is the list from Dever, taken from http://blog.9marks.org/ and http://blog.worship.com/
2. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
10. The rise of secularism and decline of Christian nominalism
A further word from Charles Woodruff
I thank W.F. Bell and Mark Dever for sharing this with us. My own awakening to these truths began slightly earlier than W.F.'s, so there was not originally the influence of Piper, Sproul, MacArthur, and other more modern preachers and writers. I rejoice that they have come along to "carry the torch". For us older guys, Spurgeon and Pink were the great influences along with J.I. Packer, and of course, Banner of Truth publications in general.
For me, another deep influence was Sovereign Grace Publishers. I worked for their bookstore in the early 70's and explored a whole new world of grace theology. In fact for the first time I grasped a deeper meaning of the word "grace"; They introduced me to the Puritans, which have been a great influence, especially the "devotional" ones like Thomas Brooks, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, Thomas Manton, and the ones born a little later like Thomas Boston and Matthew Henry.
Thank God for these influences and the resurgence of gospel truth that continues today. May we strive to maintain a biblical balance between Hyper-Calvinism on the one hand, and Arminianism on the other; between legalism on the one hand and antinomianism on the other.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:4-10).
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
This gospel for a man with a sword at his throat is the gospel for me. This would suit me if I were dying, and it is all that I need while I am living. I look away from self, and sin, and all idea of personal merit, and I trust the LORD Jesus as the Savior whom God has given. I believe in Him, I rest on Him, I accept Him to be my all in all. LORD, I am saved, and I shall be saved to all eternity, for I believe in Jesus. Blessed be Thy name for this. May I daily prove by my life that I am saved from selfishness, and worldliness, and every form of evil. But those last words about my "house": LORD, I would not run away with half a promise when Thou dost give a whole one. I beseech Thee, save all my family. Save the nearest and dearest. Convert the children and the grandchildren, if I have any. Be gracious to my servants and all who dwell under my roof or work for me. Thou makest this promise to me personally if I believe in the LORD Jesus; I beseech Thee to do as Thou hast said. I would go over in my prayer every day the names of all my brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, relatives, servants, and give Thee no rest till that word is fulfilled, "and thy house."
Monday, September 10, 2007
VERSES FOR EACH NEW DAY
"O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97).
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Sovereign grace can make strangers into sons, and the LORD here declares His purpose to deal thus with rebels and make them know what He has done. Beloved reader, the LORD has done this in my case; has He done the like for you? Then let us join hands and hearts in praising His adorable name. Some of us were so decidedly ungodly that the LORD's Word most truly said to our conscience and heart, "Ye are not my people." In the house of God and in our own homes, when we read the Bible, this was the voice of God's Spirit in our soul, "Ye are not my people." Truly a sad, condemning voice it was. But now, in the same places, from the same ministry and Scripture, we hear a voice, which saith, "Ye are the sons of the living God." Can we be grateful enough for this? Is it not wonderful? Does it not give us hope for others? Who is beyond the reach of almighty grace? How can we despair of any, since the LORD has wrought so marvelous a change in us?He who has kept this one great promise will keep every other; wherefore, let us go forward with songs of adoration and confidence.
From Faith's Checkbook September 7th
Monday, September 3, 2007
from Faith's Checkbook
"And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves" (Ezekiel 37:13).
Indeed it must be so: those who receive life from the dead are sure to recognize the hand of the LORD in such a resurrection. This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo -- to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life. None could work this but the living God, the LORD and giver of life. Ah, me! How well do I remember when I was lying in the valley full of dry bones, as dry as any of them! Blessed was the day when free and sovereign grace sent the man of God to prophesy upon me! Glory be to God for the stirring which that word of faith caused among the dry bones. More blessed still was that heavenly breath from the four winds which made me live! Now know I the quickening Spirit of the ever-living Jehovah, Truly Jehovah is the living God, for He made me live. My new life even in its pinings and sorrowings is clear proof to me that the LORD can kill and make alive. He is the only God. He is all that is great, gracious, and glorious, and my quickened soul adores Him as the great I AM. All glory be unto His sacred name! As long as I live I will praise Him.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
All of us receive on occasion mail with prayer chains in them. One I recently received said this: "Before sending this I said a prayer for you. Got a minute? All you do is say a small prayer for the person who sent you this.... [A prayer is given]....Then send it on to 10 other people. Within hours 10 people have prayed for you, and caused a multitude of people pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life."
Isn't this hilarious and sad at the same time? Only people who are ignorant of Scripture and of the nature of prayer put out such foolishness as this. Let's examine it, not just being critical. First, the mail assumes that all receiving this know who GOD really is, and therefore "can" pray. But this is incorrect to start with. Secondly, looking at the mail, and the prayer given for us to pray, no Scripture is given, and the Lord Jesus Christ is never mentioned. In other words, this could be sent out by Jewish people or Hindu people. It doesn't matter, because obviously everyone knows "how to pray," and if we just form the right "chain," getting enough people to join in, we can just "sit back and watch the power of God" do great things for us and others (of course, bringing us "peace, prosperity, and power").
But according to the Bible, this is not the case. Our Lord taught different things about prayer, among them: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. Hitherto [until now] have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John -24). Notice, these words were spoken to "His disciples" (v. 17), not to Jews and Hindus, Moslems and Buddhists, or to all Roman Catholics and Protestants. We must not read other people's mail, taking it as our own. Christ is addressing His followers, those who were drawn to Him by His own power, and He had just been teaching them about the mighty presence of "the Spirit of truth" coming to them, as their "guide into all truth." And Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, "He will glorify Me" (John -14). But "truth" doesn't matter anything today, as all of men's religions have been mixed together into one big soup, but alas, "there is death in the pot" (2 Kings ).
Why is the above "prayer chain" so popular? Because people are naturally sentimental and believe in luck, and think that "prayer" is some "magic wand" that can be waved, allowing us then to relax and "watch the power of God work." This is nonsense and cannot be condemned too strongly. Just think of Christ teaching that "praying" was like the mythological Aladdin rubbing his lamp, letting a genie come out to do whatever Aladdin asked. Moslem myths and Christ's truths do not mix, and Christian people have no business promoting such. And how could a canned, "small prayer" possibly "cause" countless others to "pray" without the Holy Spirit? Christ plainly tells us to "ask" for the Holy Spirit when we pray (Luke ). But modern prayers that really "work" don't require this.
Then, why send this prayer chain on to "10 other people"? Why 10? Why not greatly multiply this "power of God" by sending it on to hundreds and thousands, if it really works? But we don't stop to think this through, fearing we will "break the chain" if we do. In other words, we do not really believe in God or His power or true prayer -- what we actually believe in is luck and chance and magic. Correct?
True prayer is God-glorifying and humbling to the flesh. It honors God's sovereign will (I John -15), and glorifies the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. But what passes for "saying prayers" today is another thing altogether. Let us examine ourselves and the Scriptures.
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
"Ignorance of the Bible is the root of all error." J. C. Ryle
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
On Happy Memories
"Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away....Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories." (92 year old man)
New Names & New Bottles
"Today new personalities and new terminologies are among us but the same virus merely sports new names. What we used to call rheumatism is now arthritis but it hurts just the same. Putting poison in a new bottle and calling it ginger ale makes it all the more dangerous."(Vance Havner)
"We are all ignorant -- only on different subjects."
God in Every Little Thing
"There is a God in the motion of a grain of dust blown by the summer wind, as much as in the revolutions of the stupendous planet. There is a God in the sparkling of a fire-fly as truly as in the flaming comet. Carry home, I beseech you, to your houses the thought that God is there, at your table, in your bed-chamber, in your work-room, and at your counter. Recognize the doing and being of God in every little thing." (Charles Spurgeon)
"Patience is a bitter plant but it has sweet fruit."
The Wise and The Foolish
"A wise man will hear and will increase learning....but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:5-7)
Meditation on Christ
"To believe a thing is to see the cool crystal water sparkling in the cup. But to meditate on it is to drink of it....Everything is a trifle to a Christian except the glorifying of Christ." (Charles Spurgeon)
Monday, August 20, 2007
"If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee" (1 Chronicles 28:9).
We need our God; He is to be had for the seeking, and He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face. It is not if thou deserve Him, or purchase His favor, but merely if thou "seek" Him. Those who already know the LORD must go on seeking His face by prayer, by diligent service, and by holy gratitude: to such He will not refuse His favor and fellowship. Those who, as yet, have not known Him to their souls' rest should at once commence seeking and never cease till they find Him as their Savior, their Friend, their Father, and their God. What strong assurance this promise gives to the seeker! "He that seeketh findeth." You, yes you, if you seek your God shall find Him. When you find Him you have found life, pardon, sanctification, preservation, and glory. Will you not seek, and seek on, since you shall not seek in vain' Dear friend, seek the LORD at once. Here is the place, and now is the time. Bend that stiff knee; yes, bend that stiffer neck, and cry out for God, for the living God. In the name of Jesus, seek cleansing and justification. You shall not be refused. Here is David's testimony to his son Solomon, and it is the writer's personal witness to the reader. Believe it and act upon it, for Christ's sake.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Here is the way of mercy for a guilty and repenting sinner. He must cease from the habit of covering sin. This is attempted by falsehood, which denies sin; by hypocrisy, which conceals it; by boasting, which justifies it; and by loud profession, which tries to make amends for it. The sinner's business is to confess and forsake. The two must go together. Confession must be honestly made to the LORD Himself, and it must include within itself acknowledgment of the wrong, sense of its evil, and abhorrence of it. We must not throw the fault upon others, nor blame circumstances, nor plead natural weakness. We must make a clean breast of it and plead guilty to the indictment. There can be no mercy till this is done. Furthermore, we must forsake the evil; having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King's majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books which might lead us astray. Not for confession, nor for reformation, but in connection with them we find pardon by faith in the blood of Jesus.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Does Scripture give us a command to name Christ's Church? The answer from all students of the Bible must be "No." Then, why do we allow traditions (such as denominational preferences) to influence us concerning our church names and its services? If "Scripture alone" is our "authority" for what we do, how can we possibly be wedded to so many unscriptural views?
Does the wind blow the same everyday? Do we eat the same foods everyday? Do we wear the same clothes everyday? If not, then why do we meet as God's people, and regularly do the same things each time? The wind of the Spirit will blow differently from time to time, and He will cause us to worship differently also. Why the unnecessary, formal, cold, set-in-concrete order of worship? Where is the Scripture for such (regarding time frame or form)? There is none.
True worship must be spontaneous, spiritual, and scriptural, according to our Lord Jesus Christ (John 4:23-24). And according to Paul, it must be a "report that God is truly among you" (I Corinthians 14:23-25). If we meet and are not humbled and edified by God Himself being present among us, what good is it to meet, and how could this possibly help the unbeliever?
There was most definitely participation by individual Christians in apostolic meetings, brethren sharing "a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation" (v. 26). While this may not be the norm for all time, it tells us the members of the body have differing functions, and should properly use spiritual gifts. Then, Paul plainly says, "Let all things be done unto edifying." And "love" among Christians is the spiritual glue that holds the body together (Colossians 3:14).
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
From The Puritans; Page 28; chapter on Knowledge False and True; Banner of Truth- 1987 (Available from Amazon.com).
"A theoretical Calvinism is of no more value than a theoretical Arminianism -- not the slightest." (ibid, page 36). (CW)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Jesus Christ has already fulfilled at least 333 prophecies the first time he came. Be sure, the rest concerning His Second Coming will be fulfilled! As Fred John Meldau said:
"Suppose that there were only 50 prophecies of the Old Testament (instead of 333), concerning the first advent of Christ, giving details of the coming Messiah, and all meet in the person of Jesus....the probability of chance fulfillment as calculated by mathematicians, according to the theory of probabilities is less than one in 1,125,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion and one hundred twenty five trillion!!) Add two more elements to these 50 prophecies ( fixing the time and place where they must happen), and the immense improbability that they will take place by chance exceeds all the power of numbers to express (or the mind to grasp!)
This is enough to silence forever, one would think, all pleas for chance as furnishing an unbeliever the least opportunity to escape from the evidence of prophecy"- from Messiah in Both Testaments, recently reprinted, and now titled The Prophets Still Speak (available from Amazon.com).
Saturday, July 21, 2007
It is unbelievably sad that churches of all denominations are infested with beliefs that are illogical and unscriptural. How men can glorify a doctrinal position that cannot be proved from sacred Scripture is very hard to understand. Among Baptists a position called "Landmarkism" extols the Baptist church as "the only true church." Historically, this view is untenable, as "Baptists" (per se) began around 1600 in Holland, England, and Wales; and there are different kinds of Baptists, complicating matters.
Looking carefully at the New Testament itself, where does it use or license the expression, "church authority"? Check it out: nowhere! So,when men called "Landmarkers" tell us how important their "church authority" is, we simply ask, Who authorized the baptism of believers into the Jerusalem church (Acts 2:41-47)? Where is the record of any church vote? Then, to add to this absurdity, we are told we must be able to prove our direct link to this Jerusalem church by successive, humanly-given authority. But, who authorized Philip to baptize in Acts 8, and into what church were those of Samaria baptized? And who authorized Philip to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch, and what church was he baptized into? Furthermore, was not Philip just a "deacon," not an ordained "elder"? How do you explain that?
And where did Ananias come from in Acts 9? What church authorized him to baptize? What church was Saul baptized into? This could go on and on right through the book of Acts. But, it doesn't matter what Scripture says, or is silent about, Landmarkers still insist on their views and opinions.(This is the same line of thinking of Campbellites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics, and all denominationalists. Study it out.)
Back up just a bit. Who baptized John the Baptist? We are not told. Must not be too important. Who baptized the apostles of Christ? Scripture is silent, and so should we be. Why all this fuss about outward ceremonies, rites, rituals, obeying "the commandments of men"? Isn't this what our Lord saw when in the world, and so strongly condemned (Matthew 15:6-9)? "Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do" (Mark 7:13). And look at Paul's clear statement in I Corinthians 1:14-17, where he concludes, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect." Christ alone is our authority!
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
"When I listen to the shop-talk in religious gatherings, when I watch the scramble for top seats in the synagogue, when I behold the wire-pulling and politicking for posh pastorates, I cannot make the modern tune fit the Bible words." Vance Havner
Friday, July 13, 2007
John 8:1-11; Psalm 119:113; Romans 7:21
"Casting stones" seems to be a popular religious sport, and I have sadly engaged in it myself through the years. By God's grace, may we learn to stop doing this, as we have no stones to cast which could not be cast at us!
"Casting stones" seems to be a popular religious sport, and I have sadly engaged in it myself through the years. By God's grace, may we learn to stop doing this, as we have no stones to cast which could not be cast at us!
The story of the woman "caught in adultery, in the very act" (John 8:4) is most definitely in the Bible for our admonition and learning, just like Old Testament lessons (Romans 15:4). This New Testament story vividly demonstrates not only the power and love of Christ to forgive, but also teaches us how to deal with others who sin. The "scribes and Pharisees" here were seeking to entrap the Son of God, seeking "something of which to accuse Him" (v. 6). They quote Moses, but were not really interested in enforcing Moses' law (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-24). They ask Jesus, "But what do You say?" (v. 5).
(v. 7). How veryhumbling and humiliating this must have been to these religious, self-righteous Pharisees (and to us). What powerful conviction gripped them,so they took off "one by one" (v. 8). That's what we better do too.
I once taught so many "legalistic" things (following the likes of several other preachers I admired). "Don't go there; don't watch that; don't wear that; don't eat that; Christians shouldn't pay taxes." Sound familiar? But, thankfully, God taught me His wondrous grace, where the emphasis is not on minor, outward things, but on Christ's imputed righteousness, and God's free justification of sinners through the mighty work of the Cross(Romans 3:24-26). Now, we even "hate vain thoughts" (Psalm 119:113), and this includes good thoughts of ourselves! No time now to cast stones.
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
"Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self! What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance; my whole heart boils with indignation at myself." C. H. Spurgeon
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Yes, LORD, we believe it; we shall never die. Our soul may be separated from our body, and this is death of a kind; but our soul shall never be separated from God, which is the true death -- the death which was threatened to sin -- the death penalty which is the worst that can happen. We believe this most assuredly, for who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our LORD? We are members of the Body of Christ; will Christ lose parts of His Body? We are married to Jesus; will He be bereaved and widowed? It is not possible. There is a life within us which is not capable of being divided from God: yea, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and how then can we die? Jesus, Himself, is our life, and therefore there is no dying for us, for He cannot die again, In Him we died unto sin once, and the capital sentence cannot a second time be executed. Now we live, and live forever. The reward of righteousness is life everlasting, and we have nothingless than the righteousness of God, and therefore can claim the very highest reward. Living and believing, we believe that we shall live and enjoy. Wherefore we press forward with full assurance that our life is secure in our living Head.
From Faith's Checkbook
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
What shall we study and meditate on? There are many books in the world -- some are good, some are bad. This is true of sermons you can hear and read -- some are good, some are bad. We could suggest as some have that you read nothing other than the Bible. Yet being men and women in a modern world, we are not likely to limit ourselves to that, especially if we are good readers. God gave us a desire for knowledge in many areas, and we fulfill it by reading, sometimes.
Many years ago, in another state, I was asked to preach in a particular church on several different occasions. I suppose I was 39 or 40 then, and the pastor there was considerably younger than myself. I got to know him pretty well, and stayed with him and his young family each time I was in the area. He told me that he read at least one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons every day. I said, “Very commendable. Spurgeon was a great preacher and left us a great body of work.” The pastor also put a Spurgeon sermon in his church paper each week.
The last time I was there, I met another young couple from his church that was staying in the pastor’s home until their house got repaired. They seemed like a nice couple. A short time later I got word that this pastor fell into sin with the other woman, and left his wife and two children for her. Two homes were broken up! A ministry was destroyed!
What brought about this awful situation? This minister was surely not following the teachings of Spurgeon when he did this. You can’t blame Spurgeon for this, for he was a godly man. It does show that no matter how much a person is claiming to follow sound doctrine, he can err if he is not obeying God’s word. Spurgeon preached the word. Some others he read from like Arthur Pink also preached the word. He read his bible regularly. But it doesn’t matter. He could have been reading John Wesley every day. Or J.C. Philpot. Or David Wilkerson. Or Billy Graham, or whoever. There had to be something much deeper than which ministers were influencing him. This minister himself studied and preached the word. He seemed to have good Bible knowledge. Why did he put another black mark on the cause of Christ? “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul“ (Proverbs 6:32). We are all flesh and blood, and I have to say “but for the grace of God there go I”.
There is an answer however. Many, as James says, are only hearers (or readers), of the word. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). You see, it is not enough to just hear, or read, or be religious, the word must be in the heart to cause the manifestation of doing good works. James also said
“ …To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
This person knew. All thought him to be a true brother -- God alone knows. He surely does not appear to be God’s chosen, unless he repents. Beloved, as the verse I quoted at the beginning says, we must hide God’s word in our hearts. As our theme verse says, it is a lamp to guide our path. But we must be doers of the word. Remember in Ephesians, that great scripture mountaintop, it says: “For by grace are ye saved. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Friday, June 29, 2007
Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; I Timothy 4:15
We are told that "meditation" means "quiet thought, reflection; contemplation on sacred or solemn subjects, especially as a devotional exercise." To "meditate" is simply "to think quietly; engage in deep and serious thought." Synonyms are "ponder, muse."
How we need "holy" meditation in our busy world, with so much noise and so many things to distract us from study and prayer. Not that anyone can just sit and think, study and pray, all the time. We cannot. But, this makes a time of serious reflection, with deep and serious thought, all the more needful.
The sixty-six books of the Bible are given to us in God's gracious providence to reveal to us who He is, what man is, how God saves sinners through the work of Christ, how the Holy Spirit comes to indwell believers, and how we are to daily "deny" ourselves, "take up" our cross, and "follow" our Lord (Luke 9:23). No one can rightly do this apart from "meditating day and night" in God's words to us (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2). Paul clearly tells Timothy, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (I Timothy 4:15).
Everyone agrees that we should meditate. Our problem seems to be finding the time, or knowing exactly how best to do it. Personally, I have found that daily discipline is the key. We should rarely ever put the Bible on a shelf. Keep it out; keep it handy. If you don't do anything but look at one verse, that is keeping up "meditation" on a daily basis. Better yet, though, to take time to regularly read a portion of Scripture, giving thought to words and phrases, memorizing them if possible. This is "hiding" God's word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), and is true meditation.
So, "meditate" now on this need of "daily meditation." Read and study the Scripture. Think about the words. Look at the contexts. Memorize portions that are especially meaningful to you, and that speak powerfully to you. Assuredly you will be able to say with the psalmist, "Oh, how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). And, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).
Meditating in and upon God's Word means (first and foremost) that you also meditate upon the Person of Christ Jesus: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord" (Psalm 104:34). Fellowship with Christ is what the Christian life is all about. So daily let us be "looking to Jesus."
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
"We have no control over what people do about God's message, but we can see to it that they get it." Vance Havner
God was telling Israel through Isaiah that it was not the fault of God that their prayers were not being answered; it was because of their unconfessed sins. God had hidden His face from them to cause them to feel the shame of their sins. This is certainly in agreement with David's words in Psalms 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" It is apparent that the sins that God referred to in the life of Israel were sins that they had given a place of honor, reverence, or respect. These were their "pet" sins. They were the ones that they did not care for God to touch, or rebuke them for, yet the Lord told them that as long as they kept these sins He would not be their help. They must turn and repent of these sins before they could expect God's blessings.
I want to encourage each of you to read the context of Isaiah 59 to get a feel for the sins that God was talking to them about. The truth of these words is certainly applicable to us today. As the people of God, we have the responsibility to make sure that there is nothing between us and Him, nothing to bar our hearts from communing with His heart, and certainly nothing that will keep Him from hearing our prayers. It is time to be honest with ourselves and with God and not trust in the vanity of our own ways.
In the words of the well-known hymn:
Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
naught of this world's delusive dream:
I have renounced all sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine, there's nothing between.
Nothing between like worldly pleasure;
habits of life, though harmless they seem,
must not my heart from Him ever sever,
He is my all, there's nothing between.
Nothing between, like pride or station;
self or friends shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there's nothing between.
Nothing between, even many hard trials,
though the whole world against me convene;
watching with prayer and much self-denial,
I'll triumph at last, with nothing between.
Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.
Words & Music: Charles A. Tindley, 1905
God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters! God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.
From Faith's Checkbook