Thursday, October 25, 2012


"Men and women become justified only at the point of believing in Christ."

Keach had made the same point fifteen years earlier in his popular allegory, Travels of True Godliness (1683). At one point in his journey, Godliness encounters a man whom Keach described as “a haughty looking person who seemed greatly disposed to dispute about religion” and to whom he gave the name “Antinomian.” In response to Godliness’ query about what Antinomian believed with regard to Justification, the latter stated that he believed “all the elect are personally and actually justified from eternity.” Antinomian was confident that the love which God had for the elect before their conversion was identical to that which He has for them after it. “God sees no sin,” he says, “nor ever did, in his elect.” Godliness’ response to this view was unequivocal: It was “a doctrine Jesus Christ abhors” and which brings reproach upon Calvinism. Godliness goes on to say that the very notion of being justified presupposes that one was formerly in a state of guilt and condemnation. If unbelievers are under God’s wrath (as John 3:18, 36 bear witness) and at the same time also “actually justified,” then the very notion of Justification becomes meaningless.27

As Keach rightly realized, this debate about the nature of Justification had immensely practical consequences. In the Antinomian schema, that style of preaching where the lost are explicitly urged to turn to Christ becomes quite unnecessary. What is needed in preaching is simply the proclamation of what God has done in Christ. God will use that to awaken the elect and show them what he has already done for them. Keach’s pulpit ministry, however, was characterized by vigorous evangelism and regular calls to the unconverted to respond to Christ in faith. According to C. H. Spurgeon, in speaking to the lost Keach was “intensely direct, solemn, and impressive, not flinching to declare the terrors of the Lord, nor veiling the freeness of divine grace.”28
Typical of Keach’s evangelistic appeals to the unconverted is the following, cited by Spurgeon to illustrate the above statement:

Come, venture your souls on Christ’s righteousness; Christ is able to save you though you are ever so great sinners. Come to Him, throw yourselves at the feet of Jesus. Look to Jesus, who came to seek and save them that were lost. . . . You may have the water of life freely. Do not say, “I want qualifications or a meekness to come to Christ.” Sinner, dost thou thirst? Dost thou see a want of righteousness? ‘Tis not a righteousness; but tis a sense of the want of righteousness, which is rather the qualification thou shouldst look at. Christ hath righteousness sufficient to clothe you, bread of life to feed you, grace to adorn you. Whatever you want, it is to be had in Him. We tell you there is help in Him, salvation in Him. “Through the propitiation in His blood” you must be justified, and that by faith alone.29

Here we see Puritan evangelism at its best: cleaving to Christ alone for Salvation, and intensely desirous that others might truly know this joy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


"For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs" (Habakkuk 1:6).  "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble" (Habakkuk 3:7).

Ancient Israel was chastised by the hand of Jehovah for their departure from Him.  "Chaldeans" were no problem for the great Jehovah to raise up as an instrument of His displeasure.  Many throughout history have found themselves on the losing end when contending with "the Mighty God of Jacob."  Numerous have been the nations, like Israel, whom the Lord put in "affliction" and were made to "tremble."  America is learning that lesson well in our day, though we may not say so or believe it.

Many try to tell us what we need in America to correct our problems.  Most of these miss the mark, not dealing with the root problem, which is sin.  But who wants to hear this?  Our nation becoming "socialized" may be chastisement upon us to wake us up!  For sure, beloved, Mr. Romney is not the answer!  No politician is!  No political party is!  Let's get some things straight: abortions will never be stopped short of a heaven-sent awakening, no matter who is in the White House!  All of our complaining about "the economy" is worthless in light of our awful sins!  But Obama-bashing is not the answer.  The answer to our dilemma is nothing but the mercy of God upon us!  Mercy is needed to "spare" us!  Grace must be "bestowed" upon us, or we will never repent!  Our spoiled American people need stripping of our luxurious living and self-confidence.  We are lazy to the core and have been lulled to sleep on government handouts.  A divine hand is chastising us, and only a divine hand can awaken us.  Why all these debates? 

The Lord Jesus Christ is still our hope, and only the way of the cross leads home!  The answer is that simple, but who has an ear to hear?  "And some said, What will this babbler say?  Others said, He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached unto them JESUS and the RESURRECTION" (Acts 17:18).  Our message is just as "strange" as was Paul's.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012



The memory of Spurgeon has been cherished among evangelical Christians for over the past 100 years. Many Christian leaders consider him to be the greatest preacher England ever produced. He is commonly hailed as the "Prince of Preachers". Over 63 volumes of published sermons still bear witness to the richness and success of Spurgeon's ministry. Though known as a great preacher, it was not preaching that made Spurgeon great. Spurgeon repeatedly acknowledged his success as the direct result of his congregation's faithful prayers. "It has often been remarked that the whole church helped produce Spurgeon."

When visitors would come to Spurgeon's church he would take them to the basement prayer-room where people were always on their knees interceding. Then Spurgeon would declare, "Here is the powerhouse of this church."

Spurgeon in his autobiography described his gratefulness for being blessed with such a praying church. "I always give all the glory to God, but I do not forget that He gave me the privilege of ministering from the first to a praying people. We had prayer meetings that moved our very souls, each one appeared determined to storm the Celestial City by the might of intercession." Spurgeon regarded the prayer meeting as the spiritual thermometer of a church. His church's Monday night prayer meeting had a worldwide testimony for many years. Every Monday night a large portion of Spurgeon's sanctuary was filled with earnest and fervent intercessors.

"In Spurgeon's eyes the prayer-meeting was the most important meeting of the week." It is here many of us find ourselves in conflict with dear Spurgeon. We love our meetings for preaching and praising and yet sadly neglect those set aside for praying. One of Spurgeon's greatest concerns was that his people learn to truly pray. "He taught his people to pray, doing so far more by his example than by any preaching. People heard him pray with such reality that they became ashamed of their own mere repetition of words." Throughout his entire ministry many hearers remarked that they were moved by his preaching, but yet still more affected by his praying. D.L Moody after his first visit to England, being
asked upon his return to America, "Did you hear Spurgeon preach?" He replied, "Yes, but better still I heard him pray." A close friend of Spurgeon's, commented on his prayer life, "His public prayers were an inspiration, but his prayers with the family were to me more wonderful still. Mr. Spurgeon, when bowed before God in family prayer, appeared a grander man even than when holding thousands spellbound by his oratory."

Spurgeon fully recognized that the Church's greatest need was not to have another, "Prince of Preachers", but to have more princes of prayer. One of his many published sermons expressed his
feelings on this. He wrote, "Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer . . . "

There has been much talk lately about pockets of revival springing up in our nation. Many are saying they desire such revivals in our own local churches, and cities. Yet, is it not the prayer-meeting which is still most neglected? If Christ Jesus were to visit us today with real revival power, how could such a blessing be sustained where there is no ground work laid in prayer? To merely exercise our words about revival and not our knees is hypocrisy! It is time to make the prayer-meeting as crowded as our favorite preaching and praise meetings. It is then and ONLY then, that a true revival will come with lasting power! Like Spurgeon, let us regard the prayer-meeting as our most important meeting!