Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sermons Watered By Prayer

"Nothing will give power to our sermons, as when they are sermons of many prayers. The best sermons are lost, except they be watered by prayer------it is easy to bring our people the product of our own study; but the blessing belongs to the message delivered to them, as from the mouth of God". Charles Bridges (1794-1869). Taken from Free Grace Broadcaster Nov/Dec 1980.

Monday, July 30, 2007


As someone has well said long before my time regarding the Calvinist-Arminian controversy, "there are ditches on both sides of the road." The controversy is still with us today. I like the following statement from the late David Martyn Lloyd-Jones in which he is discussing George Whitefield, the great evangelist: "It seems to be the besetting sin of mankind, and one of the most terrible results of the fall, that there is nothing so difficult as to maintain a balance. In correcting one thing we go to such an extreme as to find ourselves in an equally dangerous position. We are always confronted by the devil, who is ever ready to take the best things and turn them into his own instruments of unrighteousness and to produce the shipwreck of souls....."
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


We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

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

Scripture Meditations- W.F. Bell


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!


"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

Scripture Meditations - W.F. Bell


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!

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).

Our Lord twice "stooped down and wrote on the ground" (vv. 6, 8); what we do not know. After the first writing, not satisfied, those "testing Him," wanted a personal word of commentary on the situation. What they got was not liked for sure, but here it is in all its plainness of speech: "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first"
(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.

"I find then a law," Paul says, "that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good" (Romans 7:21). "Woe is me" is all we can say. And let us remember these tender words of our precious Savior: "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" (v. 10). After stating, "No one, Lord," Jesus gives this consolation to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (v. 11). That's not being "soft on sin," but it is being forgiving of sinners. And only here (in gospel forgiveness) do we have hope.


"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


"And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believeth thou this?" (John 11:26).

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

July 11

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).
“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).