Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gospel Distinctives

I know that the things we believe and preach, place us in direct conflict with the religious world around us. That really shouldn't surprise us. When our Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of his day the things I am about to tell you, they started grabbing rocks to stone him to death. So we must never be surprised when lost religionists get upset with us for preaching the gospel.
Here are four things which place us in direct conflict with the entire religious world--
1. What we believe and preach about GOD himself is the primary, basic difference between us and those who do not believe the gospel. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture that the one true and living God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN of the universe (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). That simply means that God is God. He does, he always does, exactly what he will everywhere, with everyone and everything! God always has his way. God always does all his pleasure. None can stay his hand. None can resist his will. In heaven, earth, and hell GOD RULES!
This great, sovereign God is absolutely, perfectly, immaculately HOLY. Everything he does is holy. Everything he requires is holy. He is so perfectly, absolutely, inviolably holy that he cannot and will not accept anything or anyone who is not perfectly holy.
Our great, sovereign, holy Lord God is immutably JUST. God our Savior declares himself to be both "a just God and a Savior." His justice is unbending and unbendable. He will not forgive sin, except upon the grounds of strict justice. The just God must and shall punish all sin. He cannot forgive sin until full satisfaction for sin has been made. And this gloriously just God cannot charge any sin upon any sinner for whom atonement has been made. Justice, once satisfied, demands the release of all for whom satisfaction has been made.
2. That which we believe about MAN also separates us from the entire religious world around us. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that all men and women are sinners, born in spiritual death, corrupt at heart, inclined toward every evil, incapable of doing good, and totally incapable of changing their condition. In a word, fallen man is "dead in trespasses and sins," lost, justly condemned, under the wrath of God, doomed, damned, willfully ignorant of all things spiritual; without Christ, and without hope, apart from God's sovereign mercy.
3. Everything we believe about the LORD JESUS CHRIST sets us apart from the religious world in which we live. Unlike most religious people, we actually believe the Bible. We believe all that the Bible reveals about the Son of God. We really do believe that Jesus Christ is God, God in human flesh.
-That he is the eternal Surety.
-That he brought in everlasting righteousness for his elect by his obedience to God as our Representative.
-That he fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of his people, which were imputed to him, when he died as our Substitute at Calvary.
-We believe that all for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died must and shall be saved, because he cannot fail. He is an almighty, effectual Redeemer, an omnipotent Savior, an unfailing Advocate, and an all-prevailing High Priest!
4. Believing what the Bible teaches about SALVATION also separates us from the lost religionists of this world, who foolishly imagine that God's salvation depends in some way, or to some degree, at some point upon the will, work, or worth of man. It does not! "Salvation is of the LORD!" Salvation is accomplished, in its entirety, by the free, sovereign, irresistible grace and power of God Almighty, through the person and work of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotent operations of his Holy Spirit, who alone can raise sinners from death to life, reveal Christ in them, and give them the gift of faith in him.
Every aspect of God's salvation is by GRACE alone.
Are we 'chosen' of God? We were chosen unto salvation by the election of grace.
Are we 'redeemed' by the blood of Christ? We were redeemed because God the Father gave us to God the Son in the covenant of grace before the world began.
Are we 'called', 'born again'? We are born again by the Spirit of God, who called us from death to life in Christ by the power of his omnipotent grace.
Are we 'justified'? We are justified by grace.
Are we 'sanctified'? We are sanctified by grace.
Are we 'kept'? We are kept by the power of God's grace.
There is no place between the pit of hell and the gates of pearl, where salvation depends on us. It is written in the Book of God in bold, capital letters-- "BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED!" That is the message written upon every page of the Bible. Any religion, any doctrine, any preacher, any religious teacher, anything or anyone who contradicts that message contradicts the Word of God. Salvation is by the grace of God, entirely by the grace of God. Human works, human effort, and the will of man has absolutely nothing to do with it. "Salvation is of the LORD!"
I know that men object to these things. I know preachers everywhere deny them. I know that proud men are offended by them. But I am not running for political office. I am here to proclaim the truth to eternity bound sinners for the glory of God. That which we have heard and learned of the Father, we must declare. I must be true to God, true to the Scriptures, and true to your souls.

Don Fortner

Sunday, April 24, 2016

What I want

"Enoch WALKED with God...." Genesis 5:24

My heart is motivated, driven and governed by four great concerns.
Here are four things I want more than anything in this world.
I am not an ambitious man. But I am ambitious for these
four things. For the attainment of these four things I am
prepared, by the grace of God, to sacrifice everything else.
I count all other things to be but rubbish by comparison.

1. I want to know Christ (Phil. 3:10).

Yes, I believe that in measure I do know him. God has revealed
his grace and glory to me in the Person of his dear Son.
Still, I want a growing, spiritual, experimental knowledge of the
Lord Jesus Christ. I want to know all that he has done for me.
I want to know him. I want to know him fully.

2. I want to be totally committed to Christ.
I want to totally lose my life to Christ and in Christ, so that I
can truthfully say with the Apostle Paul, "For me to live is Christ."
I want to be committed to Christ as he was to the Father, so that
my heart says to him in all things, "Not my will, thy will be done"
It is my continual prayer that God will give me a heart--
committed to the Lord Jesus Christ,
committed to his will,
committed to his gospel,
committed to his people,
committed to the cause of his glory in this world.

3. I want to be like Christ.
My heart longs to be like him, conformed to him, made into
his likeness. I want to be like him love, tenderness, and
thoughtfulness, in zeal, dedication, and devotion, purity,
holiness, and righteousness.

4. I want to live in communion with Christ.

Like Enoch of old, I want to walk with God.

I know these goals are not attainable in this life. Yet, they are
the things for which my soul hungers and my heart thirsts. I cannot
be satisfied with less. "I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14). "I shall be satisfied when I awake with
Christ's likeness" (Psa. 17:15), but not until then.

"Enoch WALKED with God...." Genesis 5:24


Don Fortner

God's servants do not promote themselves


"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." 2 Corinthians 4:5
No work is so great, no labor is so noble, no burden is so heavy, no honor is so humbling — as preaching the gospel of the grace of God to eternity bound sinners!

Let every man called of God to preach the Gospel, disentangle himself from the affairs of this world with determined consecration to Christ and His Gospel and His Church, addicting himself to prayer, study and preaching.

God's servants do not promote themselves
, their ministry, or their church. They promote Christ, His Gospel, and His Kingdom. The man who promotes himself — serves no one but himself!

Don Fortner

Broken people

"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18

broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a subdued will are rare things, especially in this age in which men everywhere are taught to demand their rights; and the church has become a place where man is exalted and enshrined as though he were God. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-promotion is the cry of the day. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. All men by nature are exceedingly proud, selfish people.

Preachers today, knowing man's natural pride, have capitalized upon it. They have developed a flesh-pleasing theology of pride. Our forefathers exalted the dignity, the majesty, and the supremacy of the eternal God. But the smooth-tongued preachers of deceit in our day have set themselves to exalt the dignity, majesty, and supremacy of puny man! It seems that religion today is dedicated not to the honor of God, but to the honor of man. Its purpose is to make man feel good about himself. Therefore we hear little about . . .
  brokenness of heart, 
  contrition of the soul, and
  the subduing of man's will.

The Lord God declares, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word!" (Isaiah 66:2). God will have broken hearts with which to build His kingdom. Sooner or later, the Lord God will bring us to nothingness before His presence. God's people, all of God's people are a broken people.

No man has ever experienced the grace of God in salvation, until his heart is thoroughly broken before the holy Lord God, revealed in the crucified Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever a man finds out:
  who he is,
  who God is,
  who the Lord Jesus Christ is,
  and what He has done for sinners
 — he will be a broken man!

When Job saw himself in the presence of his three miserable friends, he vindicated himself. But when he stood in the presence of God, he was a broken man; and he spoke as a broken man. He saw himself in all the hideousness of his sin; and he saw God in all the holiness of His glorious majesty. Then he said, "Behold I am vile! I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" There is no pride and egotism here, no haughtiness, no self-vindication. Once Job had seen the Lord — he was broken, he loathed himself and blamed himself. Once Job saw the Lord — he honored God and vindicated Him. The truly broken heart will always vindicate God, no matter the cost.

This brokenness can be produced in proud, stubborn, sinful men and women — only by the saving revelation of Christ in our hearts. Brokenness is found at the cross — only at the cross. Have you been to the cross? Have you had the crucified Christ revealed in your heart? Has your heart been broken by the knowledge of the Lord? O Lord, evermore break our hearts before You!

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:17


Don Fortner

Market driven Christianity

by Don Fortner

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men — or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to pleasemen — I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success.

Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God’s glory and God’s truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition — do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them. 

Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world. It cannot be done. When Christianity becomes acceptable to unregenerate people — it has ceased to be Christianity!

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing!" 1 Corinthians 1:18

Choice blessings in disguise

"I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!" Isaiah 48:10 

The love of Jesus will not preserve His people from trials--but rather, assures them of trials! All whom He loves--He chastens! He has a furnace to purge our dross, and refine our souls. His Word and the Spirit reveal to us our defilement and impurity--and His grace and providence co-operate toremove them. "I am the Lord God, who sanctifiesyou." 

It is divine love which . . .
  prepares the furnace, 
  kindles the flame, 
  brings the Christian into it, 
  superintends the whole process, and 
  brings him out as gold, seven times purified!

"From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you!" He cleanses them in the laver of the Word by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. But He also cleanses them by a variety of afflictive dispensations, through which He causes them to pass. 

Our sin calls for trials--His love sends them!


Our nature repines at trials--but grace submits to them!

Our flesh is enraged at trials--but the Spirit sanctifies them to our good, and our Savior's glory.

He makes His people choice ones--in the "furnace of affliction!" He says, "I will put you into the fire--and will purely purge away your dross." 

Believer, never repine at your trials, nor be over-anxious for their removal. They are appointed by Jesus as your Purifier--and are choice blessings in disguise! 

Seek their sanctification, 
wrestle with God that you may see His love in every stroke, and 
look to Jesus that you may enjoy His presence when passing through the flame! 

Nothing can hurt you--while Jesus is near you; and He is never nearer to you--than when you are in the furnace! For He sits right there as the Refiner . . .
  watching the process, 
  regulating the heat, and 
  waiting to effect a gracious deliverance--when theends of His love are answered. 

He is only preparing you for fresh manifestations of His glory--and fitting you for larger communications of His love.

In the furnace, you will lose nothing that is worth keeping--but you will obtain what is truly valuable!

The flesh and the soul need constant cleansings--for corruption is so deeply rooted in our nature, that it takes a long and painful process to purge it out! But in reference to the furnace, your Lord says, "The Lord did this to purge Israel's wickedness, to take away all her sin!"


James Smith