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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Learning Contentment

Being content in all situations is a lesson we must learn in order to advance in our walk with Christ. Outward situations and circumstances should never be the source of our contentment/discontentment. God will put us to the test, in most cases, taking us to the edge so we may truly cultivate contentment within. Thomas Watson teaches this priceless pearl of a lesson in his sermon entitled 'the art of divine contentment'.

Here is a snippet...

We must be content, not only when God gives mercies, but when He takes away. If we must "in every thing give thanks,"1 Th. 5. 18 then in nothing be discontented.

Perhaps God hath taken away the cistern, that he may give you the more of the spring; he hath darkened the starlight, that you may have more sun-light. God intends you shall have more of himself, and is not he better than ten sons? Look not so much upon a temporal loss, as a spiritual gain; the comforts of the world run dregs; those which come out of the granary of the promise, are pure and sweet.

Your child was not given but lent: "I have, saith Hannah, lent my son to the Lord;"1 Sa. 1. 28 she lent him! the Lord hath lent him to her. Mercies are not entailed upon us, but lent; what a man lends he may call for again when he pleases. God hath put out a child to thee a while to nurse; wilt thou be displeased if he takes his child home again; O be not discontented that a mercy is taken away from you, but rather be thankful that it was lent you so long.

The Doctrine of Repentance

Is salvation possible without repentance? No, not according to God's word. Sadly, you would be hard-pressed to find any powerful preaching on repentance in today's visible church, which is why I enjoy reading the works of the Puritans. I have read this sermon by Thomas Watson and think I will read it again. I invite you to read it as well. Here is a sample...


To discover what true repentance is, I shall first show what it is not. There are several deceits of repentance which might occasion that saying of Augustine that `repentance damns many'. He meant a false repentance; a person may delude himself with counterfeit repentance.

1. The first deceit of repentance is legal terror
A man has gone on long in sin. At last God arrests him, shows him what desperate hazard he has run, and he is filled with anguish. Within a while the tempest of conscience is blown over, and he is quiet. Then he concludes that he is a true penitent because he has felt some bitterness in sin. Do not be deceived: this is not repentance. Ahab and Judas had some trouble of mind. It is one thing to be a terrified sinner and another to be a repenting sinner. Sense of guilt is enough to breed terror. Infusion of grace breeds repentance. If pain and trouble were sufficient to repentance, then the damned in hell should be most penitent, for they are most in anguish. Repentance depends upon a change of heart. There may be terror, yet with no change of heart.

continue on here...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How do we acquire faith to believe?

I have heard Gospel presentations that include putting one's faith in Christ, or placing one's trust in Him; is this biblical and how does one do this? The Bible commands us to believe, but can we do this on our own? If we are born sinners, slaves to sin as our Lord tells us in John 8:34, then how can we who are in bondage to sin, which overpowers us, how can we place faith and trust in God? Is this not teaching salvation by works? Where does this faith and trust come from, is it buried deep within our depraved natures, do we have the ability to believe in Christ on our own? This debate will continue until Christ returns.
For a deeper look, let's go to Ephesians 2:8-9 for an explanation of this dilemma. You must go into the original language to understand and unpack these verses; for that, we turn to Jim McClarty...


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mortifying Ungodly Emotions

I listened to this and I could not agree more with Brian Borgman. If you suffer from depression, or know someone who does, pay close attention to this sermon...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Consider your ways

This is an excellent sermon from J.C. Ryle, it is just as relevant today...

Consider your ways

There is a generation of Christians in this age who grieve me to the heart. They make my blood run cold. I cannot understand them. For anything that man's eye can see, they make no progress. They never seem to get on. Years roll on, and they are just the same — the same besetting sins, the same infirmities of disposition, the same weakness in trial, the same chilliness of heart, the same apathy, the same faint resemblance to Christ; but no new knowledge, no increased interest in the kingdom, no freshness, no new strength, no new fruits, as if they grew. Are they not forgetting that growth is the proof of life — that even the tree grows, and the snail and the sloth move? Are they not forgetting how awfully far a man may go, and yet not be a true Christian? He may be like a wax figure, the very image of a believer, and yet not have within him the breath of God — he may have a name to live, and be dead after all.

Brethren, these are the reasons why I write so strongly. I want your Christianity to be unmistakable. I want you all to grow really, and to do more than others. Let us all henceforth remember Sardis and Laodicea — let us resolve to be more holy and more bright. Let us bury our idols. Let us put away all strange gods. Let us cast out the old leaven. Let us lay aside every weight and besetting sin. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Let us renew our covenant with our beloved Lord. Let us aim at the highest and best things. Let us resolve by God's blessing to be more holy, and then I know and am persuaded we shall be more useful and more happy. I name some things for prayerful consideration.

Let us believers take more pains to edify others! It is incredible and sad to see how Scripture speaks on this matter, and then to observe the conduct of many of Christ's people. Paul tells the Corinthians, that the members of Christ "should have the same care one for another." He says to the Thessalonians, "Edify one another, even as also you do." He says to the Hebrews, "Exhort one another daily, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;" and again, "Consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching." Brethren, I fear we fall very short of the New Testament Christians in this respect. We are sadly apt to lose sight of this edifying one another when we are in the company of believing friends. Prayer, and the Word, and godly conversation are not put in the foremost place, and so we separate, being nothing the better, but rather worse. Far too often there is so much coldness, and restraint, and reserve, and backwardness, that a man might imagine we were ashamed of Christ, and that we thought it proper to hold our tongues, and not make mention of the name of the Lord.


the entire sermon is available here...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Loving Christ



1. If we love a person, we like to think about him.
We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation. He comes up before our mind’s eye many a time in the day.

Continue reading here...Link

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Unquenchable Fire

J.C. Ryle, 1878


"He will gather His wheat into the barn — but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!" Matthew 3:12


http://www.thespringharvest.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/hellfire.jpg

This text describes in words, that which should make our ears tingle — Christ shall "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!"

When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to purge His threshing floor — He shall punish all who are not His disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found impenitent and unbelieving — all who have held the truth in unrighteousness — all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affection on things below — all who are without Christ. All such shall come to an awful end! Christ shall "burn up the chaff!"

Their punishment shall be most SEVERE. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle flame for a moment, if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace — and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water — but nothing can live in fire! Yet fire is the portion to which the Christless and unbelieving will come. Christ will "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!"

Their punishment shall be ETERNAL. Millions of ages shall pass away, and the fire into which the chaff is cast, shall still burn on. That fire shall never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire shall never waste away and be consumed. It is "unquenchable fire."




Continue here...





Monday, November 28, 2011

Is Christmas a Christian tradition?

This is a wonderful, insightful sermon by Jim McClarty on Christmas and its origin; if you celebrate the Christmas tradition, this sermon may cause you to rethink your view on this pagan tradition...


go here for this sermon



Jim also has this response in his Q&A section concerning Christmas...

Christmas
Q -
What do you think about Christmas? Is it okay to have a Christmas tree? And, what about Santa Claus? I heard that he was connected with Baal worship. Is that right?
Jim -
I purposely tabled these questions until after the holidays so I would not be introducing any crisis of conscience into your household just as you were preparing to celebrate.
Briefly, Christmas is not a Christian holiday (read: holy day), or time of observance. Jesus was clearly not born on Dec. 25, as is widely known and admitted. Even the details of His birth make that obvious. There are no shepherds in the Middle East who watch their flocks by night in the mid-winter. That alone ought to tell us something's amiss.
Anyway, we can get a pretty good sense of Christ's actual birth date by using Luke's gospel. John the Baptist is said to be six months older than Christ (Luke 1:26 and Luke 1:36). So, if we can determine John's conception date, we simply add 15 months and we're in the right territory. John's father was a priest who served in the temple during the course of Abijah, or Abia (Luke 1:5). King David established the courses of the priests. There are of 24 courses and Abijah is the eighth (1 Chron. 24:10). By comparing those courses to the Hebrew religious calendar, we can easily deduce the period when Zacharias, John's father, served his course and heard that his wife was about to conceive.
So, let's do the math. The Hebrew calendar was lunar, not solar. It was divided into 12 months of 30 days. So, the eight course would fall during the last two weeks of the fourth month of the Sacred calendar. That month was called Tammuz, the tenth month of the Civil Calendar. It fell between mid-June and mid-July on our western Calendars. Add fifteen months (or, just three months to make it easy) and you arrive at the month of Tishri, which is mid-September to mid-October. So, Jesus was born near the time of the Autumn equinox, in the early Fall.
By the way, that period is also the time of the Feast of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles, when every Jewish family capable of travel was required to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem. So, even the smaller towns that bordered Jerusalem would be overflowing with people. That would help explain why there was "no room at the inn" in Bethlehem.
Meanwhile, the early Christian Church failed to record the date of Jesus' birth with any certainty because it simply wasn't important to them. The death of Christ is attested to in great detail in all four gospel records. But, His birthday was of little consequence. It wasn't until the time of Emperor Constantine's efforts to "Christianize" Rome that we find any real attention paid to His birth.
The Romans were steeped in Helenized culture, which they "borrowed" from the Greeks. The Greek pantheon of gods was inculcated into Roman mythology and simply given new names. And, the vast majority of Greco/Roman mythological worship finds its roots in Babylonish mystery religion, which all revolves around "sun worship." So, one of the primary festivals (read: holy days) that the Romans observed each year was the Saturnalia Feast (which came to be known as the Feast of Fools in the Nordic and Gaelic cultures). It happened on the shortest day of the calendar year as a tribute to the sun, in order to entice the sun to return and keep their agricultural society going. So, every year, during the winter solstice, there was a drunken, wild, gift-giving festival that had its roots in ancient sun worship.
Meanwhile, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine (306 to 337 AD) there had been 150 years of unbridled torture of Christians. However, Christianity, far from being disposed of by the Roman persecution, continued to grow and thrive. So, when he rose to the throne of Rome, he had a huge social dilemma. Although his personal devotions prove that he worshipped the Roman gods Mars and Apollos, Constantine unilaterally forbid Christian persecution throughout his realm.
The next significant event in Constantine's religious development occurred in 312. Lactantius - who tutored his son, Crispus - and who therefore must have been close to the imperial family, reports that during the night before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge Constantine was commanded in a dream to place the sign of Christ on the shields of his soldiers. Constantine was victorious and he attributed his victory to "the god of the Christians." Consequently, he began the effort to "christianize" Rome, making it the State religion. Since every Roman citizen was required to embrace some form of Christianity - though it was a severely watered-down and superficial form of Christianity - Constantine effectively established the Roman universal (the meaning of "catholic") church and the Holy Roman Empire. And, of course, Roman Catholicism went on to dominate Western Religion for the next 1200 years.
So, what doest that have to do with Christmas? Well, in his efforts to "Christianize" Rome, Constantine encountered considerable resistance from the heathen Roman populace. Realizing that he could not utterly remove all of their various feasts, orgies, bacchanalias and observances, he simply stamped Christian names and observances onto the festivities that already existed. For instance, the Feast of Ishtar, a Spring Fertility Feast replete with rabbits, eggs and other symbols of fertility, occurred close to the time of the Passover, when Christ rose from the dead. The two were effectively mashed together, and the early-risers who went to celebrate the rising of the sun, the rebirth of Tammuz, and his mother Semirimus, called Ishtar, was simply "Christianized" to celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. In fact, it's pretty spooky that the most significant religious observance of the calendar year still bears her name - Easter! And, people in the Christian church still run out to greet the sun as it rises - a form of Babylonish Baal (sun god) worship.
Anyway (you can see this coming), rather than try to stop the mid-winter Saturnalia feast, called "birthday of the unconquered sun," Constantine simply imposed the birth of Christ onto that date in order to give it significance for every citizen of Rome, regardless of their personal depth of Christian commitment. It was a small matter to change "the sun" to "the Son." And, in keeping with their penchant for mixing and matching heathen and Christian names and concepts, that holiday came to be known as the Christ-mass. The English word "mass" is derived from the Latin "masse," which is derived from the Greek "maza," which were small, round barley cakes baked to honor Semirimus as the "queen of heaven." That name was carried into the Catholic worship service, with its veneration of Mary as "queen of Heaven." So, when the Mass was performed to honor her child, it was designated the yearly "Christ-mass." We just call it Christmas.
And, Christmas doesn't have the sort of illustrious American history that modern folk assume. It was understood to be a pagan practice by the earliest pilgrims and settlers. In fact, Christmas was generally outlawed in America until the end of the last century. Up until 1870, the city of Boston proclaimed that anyone missing work on Christmas Day would be fired. Factory owners required employees to come to work at 5 a.m. on Christmas in order to insure they would not go to church that day. And any student who failed to go to school on December 25 was summarily expelled. Alabama was the first state of the union to recognize Christmas as a legal holiday, but that was late in the nineteenth century. It's amazing how times have changed; now that Christmas is a staple in our national economy.
While there's some debate as to where the various traditions and observances of Christmas started, it's clear that most of them pre-date Christ Himself. They were simply carried over from their heathen roots into the "christian" culture. And, Santa Claus is one of those traditions. If you do a simple search on the Internet on the History of Christmas, or the history of Santa Claus - remember that "Santa" comes from the Latin word for "saint" - you'll find a wealth of debate and information. But, it's clear that a fat man in red coming down the chimney to give gifts to children has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
The reason I referred to him as Baal, is because of the ancient mid-east and European wood carving that depict Baal as an old man with a long white beard, usually holding a fir, or evergreen, tree as a sign of eternal life. That exact imagery, by the way, appeared on this year's Christmas stamps from the US postal service. Spooky.
It's funny how inculcated this essentially heathen custom has become in our society, though. I once told a woman that I didn't care for Christmas and she accused me of being an atheist! But, it's just the opposite. I don't like Christmas because I am a committed Christian! Certainly, Jesus was right when He said, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." (Mat. 15:6)
However, I am not a complete killjoy where Christmas is concerned. We give our kids gifts and we enjoy the time the family. But, we have never taught our children Santa Claus. I mean, they know who he is, but they know he is fictitious, on the level of Bugs Bunny and Ronald McDonald. We never wanted to ascribe God-like attributes to anyone but God. Only God "sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake." And, only God rewards and judges people, not some mythological fat man from the North Pole. Libbie and I agreed early in our marriage that we would not lie to our kids. That way, they would always know that whatever we told them was true. And, they would trust us to guide them in the pathways of truth and honesty.
When my parents - who really played the Santa Claus thing to the hilt - told me that he was not real, I was crushed. And, the very next question I asked (according to my mom) was, "Then is there really a God?" Of course, they instantly went into recovery mode and did their best to convince me that the God I had never seen, never felt, seldom talked to and who never seemed to actually do anything for me, was really, genuinely alive and significant. But, the man who had entered my home every year, brought me gifts, ate our cookies, drank our milk, who I wrote letters to and who loved me for being good, was fake. I hated it. So, as a parent, I will never take my children through that crisis. When I tell them about God - whom they have heard about from their earliest years - they know I'm telling the truth and that I will never recant.
A couple of years ago we even stopped putting up a tree. The tree had bothered me, but my wife did not share my conviction, originally. But, after a while it even bothered her. Like I've said, revelation of God is progressive and we are responsible to the truth we know. So, we asked the kids if they would prefer a tree each holiday, or if we spent that extra fifty bucks on gifts. You can imagine their reply. Bingo - no tree.
Thanks for your question. I know plenty of Christians struggle with the holidays and how to properly observe them. My opinion is that we all react in accordance with our level of understanding, in keeping with the truth revealed to us as individuals. Some folk with less knowledge of Christmas history and traditions may celebrate the holidays in all their detail without a pang of conscience. And, I would never condemn them. They are a perfect example of Paul's "weaker brethren." I will continually strive to teach God's word until we all come to the knowledge of the Lord and worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Then, each Christian must work out the details between them and God. My job, and our job as a church, is to expose the truth and promote the worship of Christ and Him only.
Fair enough?
Yours for His sake,
Jim

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We must strive

There is another road to Hell quite as sure!



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(J.C. Ryle, "Practical Religion" 1878)

"Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able!" Luke 13:24

"STRIVE" teaches that a man must expect many adversaries and a hard battle--if he would have his soul saved. And this, as a matter of experience, is strictly true. There are no "gains without pains" in spiritual things--any more than in temporal things. That roaring lion, the devil--will never let a soul escape from him without a struggle. The heart which is naturally sensual and earthly--will never be turned to spiritual things without a daily fight. The world, with all its opposition and temptations--will never be overcome without a conflict.

I warn you to take heed that you do not perish forever--for lack of "striving." Do not suppose that it needs some great scarlet sin to bring you to the pit of eternal destruction! You have only to sit still and do nothing--and you will find yourself there at last. Yes! Satan does not ask you to walk in the steps of Cain, and Pharaoh, and Ahab, and Judas Iscariot. There is another road to Hell quite as sure--the road of spiritual indolence, spiritual laziness, and spiritual sloth!

Satan has no objection to your being a respectable member of the Christian Church. He will allow you to sit comfortably in church every Sunday you live. He knows full well, that so long as you do not "strive"--that you must come at last to the worm that never dies, and the fire that is never quenched! Take heed that you do not come to this end. I repeat it, you have only to do nothing--and you will be eternally lost!

Think, think above all things, what a state this is to die in! Your life is but a vapor. A few more years at most--and you are gone! Your place in the world will soon be filled up; your house will be occupied by another.
The sun will go on shining;
the grass and daises will soon grow thick over your grave;
your body will be food for worms,
and your soul will be lost to all eternity!


from grace gems

Monday, November 14, 2011

the cross of Christ

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

In the cross we see . . . the rights of divine justice maintained, the designs of divine mercy revealed; sin appearing exceedingly sinful; the law magnified and honored, and the law-breaker pardoned and delivered!

At the cross, God and sinners meet--and a reconciliation takes place. Here, man drops the weapons of rebellion--and God lays aside the sword of divine displeasure. Here, the works of Satan are destroyed--and the gates of paradise are thrown open. Here, the creditor is discharged, his every crime is atoned for--and everlasting righteousness is completed! Here, God is "just, and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus."

At the cross . . . mercy takes the throne, justice guards her rights, holiness maintains her prerogative, the sinner has hope, and iniquity is forever atoned for!

At the cross . . . we are stripped of self--and clothed with Christ; we lose our fears--and obtain the sweetest comforts; we find paradise restored--and have a foretaste of glory; Jehovah is revealed as the sinner's friend; death is destroyed as the believer's foe; Satan's . . . folly is published, designs are frustrated, and character is exposed to perpetual shame.

At the cross . . . all the truths of revelation center, all the perfections of Deity unite, and the way to eternal life is opened!

The Cross of Jesus! May it be . . . the emblem of my faith, the subject of my song, the antidote of my sorrows, and the glory of my soul!

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

From gracegems

Saturday, October 29, 2011

God's Anvil

This was brought to my attention by a dear sister in Christ, this is such a blessing....





The Anvil of God's Word
- (John Clifford)

"Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door,
And I heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
How many anvils have you had, said I,
To wear and batter all these hammers so?
Just one, said he and then with twinkling eye,
The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.
And so, I thought, The Anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon, Yet,
through the noise of falling blows was heard
The Anvil is unchanged, the hammers gone."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

whosoever will? Understanding John 3:16

Here is a rock solid response to the false belief of free will, done by Jim McClarty of salvation by grace, with credit also being given to Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega ministries. This comes from Jim's Q & A tab...


Whenever I'm discussing salvation and "free will" with someone, they always seem to retreat to John 3:16. They say, "Look right there! It says 'whosoever' believes will be saved! That means that anyone who wants to can accept Jesus and be saved!"


How do you answer that?



Jim -


Good question! You're right, John 3:16 has become the bedrock "proof text" of everyone who argues against the doctrine of election or divine predetermination. So, let's see if that verse is actually saying what these folk are convinced it says. Because, if it does, we're in hot water! But, if it doesn't, we really ought to be able to offer a sound, indisputable response.


First, let's look at John 3:16 as it appears in the King James Version:


The first thing that should be obvious is that the English rendering of this verse begins with the word "for." That means that it is the conclusion of an argument. It's the summary statement. So, we need to look at this verse in its larger context. Here is the whole passage:


"Whosever believeth"

Let's start by addressing the heart of the argument and then we'll get into the details. The word "whosever" appears twice in this passage. In both instances, it is used in regard to faith - "whosoever believes." The implication of this English phrase is that anyone who wishes to may exert his will and freedom of choice in order to believe something about Christ. Anyone who would like to can exercise his or her right and faculty to have (or not have) faith. The consequences of their faith (or lack of it) are then the result of that person's free and unencumbered choice.


But, there's a problem. And, it's a big problem. The New Testament was not written in English, any less the King's English. It was written in Greek. And, there is no Greek equivalent for the English word "whosoever."


That's important. So much so that it bears repeating.


There is no Greek equivalent for the English word "whosoever."


The Apostle John did not write, "Whosoever believeth." That word construction was never part of his original letter. What he did write was, "pas ho pisteuoon." The two little Greek words "pas ho" are literally translated "all the." "Pisteuoon" is a form of the word "pisteuo," the verb form of "pistis," or "faith."


The King James translators' choice of the single word "whosoever" to translate the two-word phrase "pas ho" was not an entirely errant decision. In the King's English, "whosoever" did not have the connotation of randomness or free choice that it has come to represent in contemporary English. Originally, "whosoever" designated a particular group - as in "whosoever possesses these certain qualities." In this case, the group included only those who believed, as opposed to those who did not.


But, more to the point, "pas ho" simply does not mean "anyone at all who chooses to exercise their choice." It specifically means "all the" and it serves to designate a particular group of people who share a defining characteristic -"faith" or "believing."


So, when we read, "whosoever believeth," we must understand that what John literally wrote was "all the believing." In other words, the benefits of God's love are not indiscriminately available to anyone who chooses to possess them. Only the particular group - "all the believing" - are gifted with eternal life.


Now, with that bit of exegesis in mind, let's dig into John's use of "pas ho pisteuo" in the larger context.

"Even so must the son of man be lifted up."

This passage comes on the heels of Jesus' instruction to Nicodemus concerning being "born again." Nicodemus, struggling to grasp Jesus' teaching, asked, "How can these things be?" In response, Jesus rebuked him for being a teacher in Israel while failing to understand the fundamentals of God's relationship with His people.


"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" (John 3:9-12)


Overall, it's a rather stinging indictment. Jesus insisted that He was speaking the things He knew for certain as a firsthand witness, yet Nicodemus refused to accept His testimony. Jesus concluded that if Nicodemus could not understand the movement and working of the Holy Spirit on Earth, he would never believe the things Jesus could tell him about Heavenly activity.


So, Jesus began to explain His authority. No one has ever gone into Heaven to scope it out and bring back a report. But, the Son of God was intimately acquainted with details of the Heavenly realm. His is the only true account because He is the only true witness.


Then, Jesus reached back into Israel's history and reminded Nicodemus of a particular event. After their great victory at Hormah, the children of Israel journeyed by the Red Sea, circumventing the land of Edom, and they began to murmur and complain about the lack of water. They had grown to loathe the daily manna and complained about the lack of other food, even longing for their days in Egypt. So God sent poisonous serpents into the camp and many of the people died.


So Israel recognized their sin and adjured Moses to intercede for them. Moses prayed for the people and God instructed him to create a brass replicate of the poisonous snake and raise it on a pole above the people. God promised that everyone who had been bitten and looked on the brass serpent would live.


Jesus drew a parallel between Himself and that brass serpent. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, likewise Jesus would be lifted up. And, just as those who looked to the serpent - knowing the instruction and believing God's promise - were healed of their deadly wound and lived, so everyone who had faith in the atoning work of Christ would receive the healing of their sinful wound and gain eternal life. The serpent on a pole typified Jesus on the cross.


"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14-15)


Now, the words "should not perish, but ..." were added by the translators and are not in the original text. Verse 15 literally reads, "That all the (pas ho) believing in Him have life eternal." The phrase "should not perish" infers that the benefits of believing would be granted at some future date. But, Jesus stated that the present reality of faith was proof that "all the believing" had already inherited, and were in possession of, the promise of eternal life. The New American Standard Version more definitely reads:


"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life." (John 3:14-15)


In other words, Jesus was lifted up on the cross and everyone who has faith in His atoning work already possesses the promise of eternal life. That is a distinct group. Those who did not look at the serpent in the wilderness were not healed. Likewise, those who do not rest in Christ's finished atonement for their salvation will not inherit eternal life.


Now, that's quite different from saying that Jesus was lifted up on the cross and anyone who chooses to believe in Him will (future tense) receive the gift of life. Rather, Jesus said that the very fact of faith or believing was the evidence that those people already possessed the gift of eternal life. Their faith was simply an outgrowth of the life (zoe) that indwelt them.


Or, more plainly, Christians do not earn eternal life as the result of their decision to believe. They believe because they were ordained to eternal life.


"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48)

"For God so loved"

Now, that's all the build-up to the verse in question. (For the members of our congregation, that was all introduction and technically does not count against my time.)


The next two words John wrote were "houtoos gar," literally meaning "so for." To make the words flow in English, the word "so" was pushed back into the sentence structure and "for" became the opening word. But, we need to understand each of these words. "Houto" (the root of "houtoos") means "in this manner" or "after this fashion." That's the same way we use the word "so" when we instruct a child to do something "just so." We mean, do it "like this," or "after this manner."


In the modern readings of John 3:16, folk get the impression that John was exclaiming, "God loves the world ssssooooo much!" But, that was not John's meaning. He said, "For in this manner (the aforementioned lifting up of Christ) God demonstrated His love."

"the world"

The next question we must ask is: "Who are the recipients of this love?"


The common reading of John 3:16 insists that God loved "the whole world" - meaning "everyone who has ever lived." And, He loved them immensely. After all "God ssssoooo loved the world!"


That's emotionally appealing, but it's not what John wrote. The word "world" is the Greek "kosmos." While it is true that "kosmos" sometimes denotes "every part and parcel of the whole earth," most often it means, "people of all kindred, tribes and nations, as opposed to Israelites exclusively." This variation of meaning becomes obvious as we look at the Apostle John's own use of this word. He employed the word "kosmos" 82 times in his gospel. Here's just a sampling.


"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." (John 1:10)


Jesus was in the world - a reference to both the planet and its inhabitants. And, he made the world - the physical structure was created and is sustained by Him. And, the world knew Him not - the people did not recognize Him.


In that short verse we get three different nuances of the single word "kosmos."

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)


John was saying one of two things, here. Either he was saying:


1) Behold the sacrificial lamb (typified by Israel's sin offerings) that will remove every sin of every person who ever lived. Or,


2) Behold the sacrificial lamb that will remove not only the sin of Israelites but of people from every kindred, tribe, tongue and nation.


If statement number 1 is true, then every sin of every person who ever lived was paid for at Calvary and God cannot judge anyone on the basis of their actions, thoughts, deeds, rebellion or even unbelief, inasmuch as those sins are all paid for.


If statement number 2 is true, then the word "kosmos" can be used in a more narrow sense that includes people of all nations, but not every single person of all nations. As we'll see, number 2 is the more tenable and exegetically consistent reading of that verse.


"For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world." (John 7:4)


In this verse, Jesus' brothers were encouraging Him to go up to the feast at Jerusalem, work some miracles and spread His fame. But obviously, the whole world was not at Jerusalem. They were simply saying, "Go make yourself public." But again, this shows the narrow scope that is possible with the word "kosmos."

"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him." (John 12:19)


Likewise, the Pharisees did not mean to claim that people on distant continents were following Jesus at that moment. But, a large crowd in Jerusalem did. So again we see an example of the narrow scope of "kosmos."


"The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." (John 7:7)


Here, Jesus spoke of the "kosmos" hating Him. But, not everyone who ever lived hated Him. Rather, Jesus spoke of the majority of the populace who stood against Him. He may even have been referring to the religions and governmental systems that stood in opposition to His Lordship. But importantly, He did not mean that "everyone who ever lived" opposed Him.


"Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." (John 13:1)


In this verse, John drew a distinction between the "kosmos" and those that Jesus loved. In other words, those that belonged to Him were in the world and He loved them to the end. But, he contrasted them with "the world." That's a critical distinction. So critical, in fact, that Jesus went on to pray only for His own beloved people, but not for the world.


"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." (John 17:6-9)


So, if "kosmos" means "everybody who ever lived," and God "ssssoooo loved" them, why would Jesus draw this line of demarcation between the world and "the men which thou gavest me out of the world"? Jesus prayed specifically for those people God gave Him ("for they are thine") and He specifically did not pray for "the world."


Again, "kosmos" does not always mean "everyone who ever lived." It most often means "people of every nationality as opposed to Israelites exclusively."


The fact of the matter is: If God so loved everybody who ever lived that He gave His only begotten Son to die for everybody who ever lived, then Jesus was in direct opposition to His Father when - just prior to being lifted up on the cross - He failed to pray for everybody who ever lived.


But, the reality is ...


Neither Jesus nor John ever taught that God loved and paid the sin penalty for everybody who ever lived.


Allow me to offer two last verses that will prove that Jesus created a distinction between those that were His and the "kosmos."

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:16-17)


The Holy Ghost is the "proof positive" of salvation. He is the "token" of the New Covenant of salvation by grace through faith. Only those who receive the Holy Ghost (the very subject of Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus in John 3) will receive eternal life.


Yet, Jesus said that the world "cannot receive" the Spirit of Truth. In fact, the world does not see him or know him. On the other hand, the apostles did know him because he would be with them and in them.


So, if God loved everybody who ever lived so much that He gave His Son for their sins, why is it that those same people - the world - cannot receive the Holy Ghost that is essential for salvation?


"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19)


Now attempt to read that verse and substitute "everybody who ever lived" for the word "world." Suddenly, the verse makes no sense at all. Here, I'll do it for you -


"If you were part of everybody who ever lived, then everybody who ever lived would love his own; but you are not part of everybody who ever lived, but I have chosen you out of everybody who ever lived, therefore everybody who ever lived hates you."


Quite a jumble, eh? There's only one conclusion. "Kosmos" simply does not mean "everybody who ever lived."


A quick recap


So, what have we got so far? We've got this:


For (gar) God so (in this manner) loved (agapao) the world (people from every nationality) that ...


Or in context, Jesus said,


"Remember how Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness and those who looked on it were healed? Likewise, the son of man will be lifted up and all those who believe in Him will have everlasting life. For, God will demonstrate His sacrificial love for people of all nations in this manner ...


And, here's the manner.

"his only begotten son"

Once again, I prefer the Greek construction of this phrase. It literally reads, "that son, his only begotten, he gave."


This is the manner in which God demonstrated His gracious, sacrificial love for His people that were in the world. He gave. He gave His Son. He gave His only begotten Son.


Just as God provided a solution to the rampant death caused by the fiery serpents in the camp, God also provided a solution for the rampant death that eats mercilessly and terrifyingly through humanity. As the serpent was raised up, Christ was raised up. Those who looked on the serpent were healed and those who believe on the Son are healed. Those who were healed by the serpent did not die physically. Those who are healed by the Son have eternal life.

"that all the believing in him"

As mentioned above, the proper rendering of the phrase "that whosoever believes" is "all the believing." It is not an infinite group made up of all those who exercise themselves to believe. It is an exclusive group made up only of those who actually do believe in the finished atoning work that Christ fully accomplished on His cross.


As we will see when we get to verse 18, this stands in stark contrast to "he that believeth not."

"should not perish"

On this occasion, the phrase "should not perish" actually does appear in the original text. The good likelihood is that, due to familiarity, an early copyist inserted this phrase in verse 15.


John's point here is that "all the believing" in Christ will not suffer eternal separation from God. Those who failed to look on the brazen serpent died. Those who fail to trust Christ will perish eternally. Again, verse 18 will make this abundantly clear.

"but have everlasting life"

As opposed to perishing, "all the believing" as a distinct group "have" (the Greek "echo," a present holding and possession) "zoe aioonion," life everlasting.


So, let's put John 3:16 back together in light of this quick exegesis:


"For in this manner God sacrificially loved people from every nationality, in that His son, His only begotten, he gave, so that all the believing in Him should not perish, but possess life everlasting."


What this is, then, is a promise from God of the eternal security of the believer, rather than an open invitation to "whosoever will." And, the ultimate demonstration of God's love for His own people was demonstrated in His willingness and decree to sacrifice His own Son on their behalf. Everyone who believes, trusts and rests on the final, sufficient atonement wrought in Christ has no fear of perishing, but already possess the life eternal.

Jesus' Summary Statement

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18)


The proper understanding of "kosmos" becomes plainer in verse 17. God did not send His Son into the world - among people of every kindred, tribe, tongue and nation - for the purpose of condemning them. The Old Testament is replete with promises that when the Messiah, David's greater son, came into the world, He would reestablish the Kingdom of Israel and judge the nations. So, when Jesus began being recognized as the promised Deliverer, expectations of national prominence ran high.


But, Jesus was clear that His mission was not one of judgment and condemnation. Rather, He came into the mix of peoples and races so that, through Him, people of all nationalities could be saved.


But, then Jesus broke all of humanity down into two groups: those who believed and those who did not. Those who were in the state of "believing on Him" constitute the "all the believing" group of John 3:16 - they are one and the same people. Jesus knows those that are His. They are the recipients of the grace of God that leads to salvation.


But, to the contrary, those people who are in the state of unbelief - "he that believes not" - are "condemned already." The fact that they are living mortal lives is merely a temporary reprieve from the condemnation that awaits them. That's utterly shocking to our sensibilities. It seems unfair.


But, it's not unfair. It's sovereign. It's the way the King rules His creation.


Now, this contrast between the believing and the unbelieving begs the inevitable question, "How can Jesus state so categorically that people who failed to believe on Him were already in a state of condemnation? I mean, couldn't they at some later point exercise their wills, choose to believe and transfer their eternal state to one of redemption and everlasting life?"


The answer is implicit in John 3:16. "All the believing" have everlasting life. The inverse is axiomatically true. All the unbelieving do not. And, that's why John 3:16 should not be removed from its larger context. John 3:18 spells out the whole paradigm in NO uncertain terms.


So, In Conslusion


Despite its popularity, John 3:16 actually proves the absolute inverse of what the "free will" crowd contend. While they insist that this verse throws open the door of salvation to anyone and everyone who will take advantage of it, John declared that those who believe on Christ are eternally secure while those who are in a state of unbelief are already condemned.


Salvation, then, must be God's enterprise, determining from the beginning the saved from the unsaved, the lost from the found, the elect from the world, and those with eternal life from those who are eternally condemned.


And, John 3:16 proves it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Credit where credit is due:

This article relied heavily on exegetical work done by Dr. James White, of Alpha and Omega ministries. You can visit them at:

www.aomin.org


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Monday, October 24, 2011

Standing Firm on the Rock

Godly Stability

By C.H. Spurgeon

And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:20)


Stability in the fear and faith of God will make a man like a wall of brass, which no one can batter down or break. Only the Lord can make such; but we need such men in the church, and in the world, but specially in the pulpit.


Against uncompromising men of truth this age of shams will fight tooth and nail. Nothing seems to offend Satan and his seed like decision. They attack holy firmness even as the Assyrians besieged fenced cities. The joy is that they cannot prevail against those whom God has made strong in His strength. Carried about with every wind of doctrine, others only need to be blown upon and away they go; but those who love the doctrines of grace, because they possess the grace of the doctrines, stand like rocks in the midst of raging seas.


Whence this stability? "I am with thee, saith the Lord": that is the true answer. Jehovah will save and deliver faithful souls from all the assaults of the adversary. Hosts are against us, but the Lord of hosts is with us. We dare not budge an inch; for the Lord Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide forever.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fear of God has been lost in the Church

This is a lengthier compilation of a much needed message for today...

For Many other free videos visit the website: www.sermonindex.net

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote from Spurgeon

"... 'The whole world is gone after him.' Did all the world go after Christ? 'Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.' Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? 'Ye are of God, little children', and 'the whole world lieth in the wicked one.' Does 'the whole world' there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were 'of God?' The words 'world' and 'all' are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that 'all' means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts—some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted his redemption to either Jew or Gentile." (Charles H. Spurgeon, Particular Redemption, A Sermon, 28 Feb 1858).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To Heaven and Back?

How many times have you heard someone claim they died and got a glimpse of heaven? Recently a co-worker told me the Pastor of her sister’s church preached a sermon on heaven. In his sermon, he mentioned a little boy who’d died and entered heaven {the child was revived by doctors}. While in heaven, he saw his grandpa who he’d never met. The mother of the child showed the little boy a picture of his grandpa, and he said that wasn’t him. So she proceeded to show him another picture, one of his grandpa when he was younger, and he said that was him. I didn’t say much as I listened, but all the while I knew what she thought was true was anything but. Stories like this are told everywhere, those who do not understand what the Bible actually teaches about death and heaven swallow this as truth.
Several days later as I recalled this again, I went to 2nd Corinthians 12 and Paul’s being caught up to the third heaven. The one thing I notice about Paul’s truthful account, he makes no mention of any family members being there. Not that they weren’t there, but the emphasis is not on deceased loved ones, it is on the unspeakable words Paul heard; this inexpressible language left him with the understanding that what he heard is not lawful for a man to utter. Another thing I noticed is that Paul refuses to boast that he went there personally, he refers to himself as a man he knew in Christ; boasting is sinful.

In Ezekiel’s breathtaking description, the emphasis is on the throne and the One who sits on the throne, not deceased loved ones. When Ezekiel saw the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, it caused him to fall on his face.

In Revelation 1:13-17, we see John’s vision of the Lord, ‘and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded bout the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead”. All of these men had a supernatural vision, God had granted them a look into things most will never know. The response by these men to their God-empowered visions is one you never hear those who claim to have died, gone to heaven and come back say … ‘I fell on my face’. What John, the Apostle Paul and Ezekiel saw and heard was indescribable; leaving them awestruck, causing them to fall down, to go limp, as if dead. What they saw took their breath away and produced a state of lifelessness because what their eyes were taking in was beyond human ability to describe.

Many of these so-called trips to heaven and back almost always include going into the light, looking down over their earthly body, hearing a voice telling them it isn’t time, to go back, etc. Again, none of this is biblical. If someone dies {take note, the biblical accounts of heaven were visions and the ones who’d had the visions were alive}, they will not be coming back. The Bible teaches when a person dies, they either go to be with the Lord, or they go to outer darkness/hell to await final judgment.

Upon death, the soul separates from the body, it does not tarry hovering over the body. The believer in Christ is ushered in before the Lord {Philippians 1:23; 2nd Corinthians 5:8}. The unbeliever enters into hell {Luke 16:22-23; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30}. Those who claim to have died and come back to life never really died; their heart may have stopped briefly, or they may have stopped breathing momentarily; but they were not legally dead. Their souls never separated from their earthly bodies; they still had brain activity. They may very well have been resuscitated, but that does not mean they were dead. To be dead is to be without life; no heartbeat, no breathing, no brain activity, no movement. One may indeed have a temporary stoppage of breathing, or a heart that stops briefly, but that does not classify you as legally dead. The better terminology for this would be ‘my heart stopped temporarily’, or ‘I stopped breathing for a short time’; not ‘I died on the operating table three times’. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die (depart, to be dead, separation, departure}, but after this the judgment” – Hebrews 9:27. Death is permanent and final.
How do we explain the stories about near death experiences? The story I was told concerned a child and an angel carrying him to his grandpa; I recall in God’s word the fact that we are all born sinners, radically depraved. This child is just as prone to demonic visions/activity and/or drug induced hallucinating visions as any adult. My suggestion is the so-called trips to heaven and back are either demonic, drug-induced, or the person claiming to have died and gone to heaven is very imaginative; I know they are not of God because His word speaks otherwise.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What will you say when He punishes you?

"What will you say when He punishes you?" Jeremiah 13:21





God has threatened to punish lost sinners — every sinner who
lives and dies in unbelief. His threatenings are written in His Word —
that we may read them; they are published by His ministers —
that we may hear them;
they are often repeated — that we may not forget them;
some of them are fulfilled in this world — that we may
believe and fear them.


No unbelieving, impenitent, careless sinner shall escape!
The whole of the wicked, shall be turned into Hell — and all
the nations that forget God.


Every one will be punished . . . justly — in exact proportion to the nature and
number of his sins; universally — in every part of body and soul;
fearfully — without any mixture of mercy; eternally — without cessation or end!
The threatenings of God are backed and sustained . . .

  by His omnipotent power;

  by His unchangeable purpose;

  by His impartial justice;

  by His inflexible holiness;

  and by His solemn oath.

They cannot be more sure — nor can they be more dreadful.
Lost sinner, they are all pointed at you! They speak
. . . of snares, of fire and brimstone, of a never-dying worm,
of a lake of fire, of blackness and darkness, of gnashing of teeth, of eternal separation from God
and a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire, that will consume
the enemies of God! Hebrews 10:27 - Punishment is in store for you! You are warned of it, and
invited to escape from it! But if you do not, then "What will you say when
He punishes you?"

From Gracegems

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Mother's Prayer

A precious sister in Christ sent this. As I read it, I was moved to tears. This prayer should be made for all children, and grandchildren as well...


I ask not for
riches for my little boy;
His poverty –
this is my plea;
That poor in
his spirit he’d cry out to You;
From all
trust in self he would flee.

I ask not
that happiness fills all his days,
But fear of
his Holy God grows;
That mourning
both sin and contempt for Your Name,
Your comfort
in Christ he would know.

I ask not
that he’d do all he wants to achieve,
But instead
would submit to Your will;
And as he
learns meekness, You’d teach him Your ways,
In awe of You
he would “Be still”.

I ask not
that he’d be satisfied with his lot,
But a hunger
and thirst he would feel,
And for
righteousness’ sake a slave he would be,
Your Spirit
in him as Your seal.

I ask not for
accolades in his career,
But mercy to
others he’d show;
Keen to
forgive those who’ve wronged him at all,
His own sins
once scarlet - now snow.

I ask not
that he’d win the acclaim of his friends,
But Your face
alone he would seek;
His
conscience now cleansed by the blood of the Lamb
Your truth
from his heart he would speak.

I ask not
that his life from trouble be free,
But his work
be the gospel of peace,
And that deep
in his heart his sonship he’d know
So that fear
and worry can cease.

O Lord, now
I’m trembling - please come, strengthen me,
Voice
faltering as I intercede;
Should he be
persecuted because of his faith
I pray that
Your grace meets our need.


(based on
Matthew 5:3-10)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Absolute Total Surrender

The Christian life is one of total surrender...DAILY! How are you doing? I am in need of His mercy, for I do not always oblige. This is from gracegems, may it encourage and bless you as it has me.

  ~  ~  ~ 


He asks for absolute surrender!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Matthew 4:19

"They immediately left their nets, and followed Him." Matthew 4:20

Their nets were probably all that they owned! It was
with these, that they earned their living. Yet at the call of
Christ--they gave up all, cut themselves off from their means
of support, and in simple obedience and faith, went with Him.


That is just what we all should do--when Christ calls us.
We should obey instantly and without questioning.
No matter how much the sacrifice involves--we should
make it cheerfully for His sake. Though to obey cuts us off
from all our ordinary means of livelihood, and leaves us
without provision even for tomorrow--we should not hesitate.
Christ takes care of His servants--when they are faithfully
doing His will. He asks for absolute
surrender to Him. He wants us to trust Him--while we obey Him unquestioningly.

The faith in Christ which the gospel requires--is the
utter, unreserved devotement of the whole life
to Him, and the unquestioning commitment to Him for
time and for eternity--of every interest and hope. The
question of what He will do with us or for us, or how
He will provide for us--should not be raised for an instant. There must be
no 'conditions'--in the following and the consecration. We may
not 'bargain' with Jesus for an easy time, for 'smooth and
pleasant paths'--but should simply give ourselves to Him
absolutely and forever, to follow where and to whatever He may lead us.

The "immediately" is also important. Many people are forever
postponing duties. But every call of Christ should be answered
immediately. Many people obey so laggardly, so reluctantly,
and so long after they are called--that half the
value of their obedience is lost! Christ always wants instant obedience.
There is no 'tomorrow' with Him. Tomorrow He may not have any need
of us, or we may not be here to do the duty which He now asks
of us.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gay Agenda and its powerful forces

The way to get your way is to wear down a person, to lessen the shock...
Here is an insightful article on this...

Yes, Virginia, there is a gay agenda, and a playbook being used to fulfill it. 
This week’s change in the law that homosexuality is incompatible with military service – the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy – is not the “triumph for America” that homosexual activists and their supporters in the Senate seemed to say it is.

Read on....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Has the Church lost its fear of the LORD?

After watching this, I was moved to share. I do believe we do not fully comprehend what it means to fear God.
I encourage you to watch this...


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Society of Animals

There does not seem to be much that shocks our culture anymore, but this story horrified me. My heart breaks for these tiny innocent human beings that are being murdered daily in this wicked nation; surely judgment is coming and will be swift on this nation...


ORLANDO, Florida, July 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In disturbing testimony during court proceedings against a well-known Florida abortionist, a fellow abortionist reportedly admitted that some aborted children are delivered alive and left “wiggling around in the toilet,” where they are allowed to die. The testimony occurred during proceedings against abortionist James Pendergraft, who was forced to pay over $36 million last week for a botched procedure that left its intended target alive, but severely disabled.
Pendergraft, who was convicted of felony extortion in 2001, was told by an Orlando County jury to pay $18 million in the civil suit itself and another $18 million in punitive damages, totaling over $36 million.
Michele Herzog of Pro-Life Action Ministries, a witness in the courtroom, said that jurors listened as abortionist Randall Whitney, one of Pendergrast’s accomplices, “cavalierly stated that yes, babies are delivered in the toilet all the time and many times are still alive, wiggling around in the toilet.”
“I would say it was eye-opening, but we all know what really goes on in these abortion mills.  But to hear the abortionist so coldly explain how they kill the children is so hard to hear and so unbelievable to think that it is allowed in our great nation,” Herzog said.
The civil suit was launched by Pendergrast’s former patient, Carol Howard, whose infant barely survived a 2004 medical abortion at his facility. The girl, now ten years old, suffers from a host of disabilities in connection with the attempted killing, including cerebral palsy, loss of function on the left side of her body, strokes, mental disability, chronic lung disease, and seizures.
The jury last week ordered Pendergraft to pay Howard $18,255,000 in damages, as well as $462,000 in court costs, according to reports. The next day, the jury awarded Howard punitive damages of over $18 million, bringing the total to $36,766,000.
“[Pendergraft] has an abortion dynasty around the state of Florida. He only cares about money, and I say hit him where it hurts!” said Howard’s attorney during closing arguments to the jury, according to Herzog.
Although Pendergraft was still in jail for extortion in Marian County at the time, Howard said she was drawn to one of his five abortion clinics because the facility’s website touted his credentials as a board certified OB/GYN. When she got there, she was given RU-486 by a medical assistant to abort her pregnancy at over 22 weeks.
Herzog reports that, according to Howard’s attorney, Howard was given fifty times the standard dosage of Cyotec, a brand name for the labor-inducing drug misoprostol. When Howard began undergoing violent contractions and asked for pain medication, she was told by medical assistants to walk her labor off outside in the parking lot, or else leave, according to the pro-life group.  Meanwhile, there were reportedly no doctors or nurses present.
Howard wound up going home, but called 911 and managed to give birth to her baby at a hospital.


From lifesitenews

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How sick is this?!?!

If you think there is not a push to drive the homosexual agenda down the throats of the American people, think again. The target is your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. These depraved sinners want to innoculate your child with perverse thinking and they pass it off as 'tolerance'. Poppycock!!! To the wind with tolerance; stand firm on God's word and speak His truth, now more than ever!! Who is more impressionable than a child? This is exactly why they target children.

Read this

The good news is that the creators of Sesame Street have not caved in to this perverse demand, as you will see here...

Monday, May 2, 2011

should it be according to your mind?

Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33


We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the
dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly
upon the Lord's dealings with us.
We want our own way.
We wish to carve for ourselves.
We would be treated as God's favorites.
We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted
in all things. And if this does not appear to be done--if our
wills are crossed, if our schemes are
frustrated, if our purposes are broken off--then we
stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody
to sympathize with us.
Under these circumstances, God comes to us--as we sit
among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned
idols--and puts this question to us: "Should it be according
to your mind?"
Are you wiser than God?
Are you kinder than God?
Are you holier than God?
Are you more just than God?
Are you better informed than God?
May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?
Should it then be according to your mind?
Should you reign--or God?
Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives
are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of
Himself.
The least the Christian can do is to submit--and to prefer
God's wisdom, way, and work--to his own. Seeing God has so
arranged all events, that all things must work together for
the good of His people--they, at least, should daily say,
"Father, may Your will be done!"
O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be
resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence--but to
acquiesce in them, and be pleased with the whole of them! Your
good is consulted--your best interests are secured; and soon,
very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy,
grace and goodness, have marked out every step of your road!
"Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am now
doing--but someday you will." John 13:7

From gracegems.org

Friday, April 29, 2011

Glorifying God

'We glorify God by being content in that state in which Providence has placed us. We give God the glory of His wisdom when we rest satisfied with what He carves out to us. Thus, Paul glorified God; the Lord cast him into as great variety of conditions as any man, 'in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft' (2 Cor.11:23). Yet, he learned to be content. Paul could sail either in a storm or a calm, he could be anything that God would have him: he could either want or abound (Phil.4:13).
A good Christian argues thus, " it is God that has put me in this condition. He could have raised me higher if He pleased, but that might have been a snare to me. He has done it in wisdom and love, therefore I will sit down satisfied with my condition."
Surely this glorifies God much, God counts Himself much honoured by such a Christian."Here", says God, "is one after mine own heart; let me do what I will with him. I hear no murmuring, he is content." This shows abundance of grace: when grace is crowning, it is not so much to be content. But when grace is conflicting with inconveniences, then to be content is a glorious thing indeed. For one to be content when he is in heaven is no wonder; but to be content under the cross is like a Christian, for he shows all the world that though he has little meal in his barrel, yet he has enough in God to make him content-he says, as David, 'the Lord is the portion of mine inheritance; the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places".(Psalm 16:5)

From Thomas Watson's sermon 'Man's chief end is to glorify God'
Fire and ice sermons

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are Homosexual Relationships based on Love?

I have repeatedly heard from homosexuals insisting their relationships are based on love; I find just the opposite in God's word...
We will start with Matthew 15:19-20 to understand where this sexual sin is birthed, "for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man." These words are spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself as to what defiles, we focus on the origin...the heart. In the original language heart means 'thoughts, feelings, the mind; the seat of everything: of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad or good way, the soul/mind as the seat of sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions'. This is evidence sin is birthed in the thoughtlife. We now focus on fornication, which translates 'adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, illicit sexual intercourse'. In Christ's own words, homosexuality and lesbianism are a defiling act which means 'unclean, pollute, to make profane, render unhallowed'. If homosexuality and lesbianism are defiling, how can it be called love?
The clearest picture on what homosexuality is based on is found in Romans 1:26-27, 'for this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions: for their women exchanged natural (produced by nature, inborn) relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed (to set on fire, to be kindled) with passion (lust-excitement of the mind, a longing after, desire, craving for) for another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error'. Here we see what happens when sinners suppress the truth of God's word, He lets men go headlong into sin, turning them over to what they desire most by not restraining their unbridled passions: the result is moral decay. What comes natural has now been shunned for what is contrary to nature, what was instilled at birth has now been exchanged for a forbidden lust. So if at birth, we were instilled with what comes natural, how is it the homosexual claims they were born that way? The only answer is they choose to follow their own lustful desires, which is what God's word proclaims.
Here lies the key to what homosexuals base their relationships on...lust. Their relationships are fueled by a burning desire that consumes and drives them. This is the reason for turbulence in these types of relationships, they are like wild animals who stalk their prey, launch their attack and conquer. Lust is never satisfied, it must be fed over and over and over; it does not care who or what must be conquered to satisfy. It does not feel love for its prey, it only thinks of 'self' and consumes the homosexual to repeatedly feed his/her craving. Love, on the other hand, is giving and is made manifest in doing for others, especially husbands towards wives and wives towards husbands. The intimacy of love between a husband and wife is one of giving, not taking; to please another and not self: it is filled with a trusting heart as well as tenderness and faithfulness. Love is God's gift between a man and a woman, lust is a result of rejecting true love with a desire to only please 'self'.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

sin's ruthlessness-J.R. Miller

One day when the tide was out, a man went out to gather sea plants
on
the rocks, and in stepping from ledge to ledge--his foot slipped
down
and became jammed in a crevice. He attempted to pull it out--but
could
not. He cried aloud, he shrieked, he prayed--but all in vain--no
one
heard him! So the tide came rolling in, and rose up higher and
higher
until it rolled over him and drowned his last gurgling cry in its
remorseless waters.

In the same ruthless way--sin
clutches men! Even one sin, one secret sin, one evil habit--may
hold
the soul that indulges it--until the floods of judgment come and
roll
over it, engulfing it in eternal damnation!

From grace gems

Saturday, March 5, 2011

the truth about same sex marriage

Through a dear brother in Christ, I found this article exposing the dangers of same sex marriage and the homosexual agenda...thank you John Lanagan of 'my word like fire' for fighting for God's truth. Here is the link

my grace is sufficient

"My grace is sufficient for thee."
— 2co 12:9

If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has not where to lay his head, who yet can say, "Still will I trust in the Lord;" when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet having faith in Christ, oh! what honour it reflects on the gospel. God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring-that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as he is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace. There is a lighthouse out at sea: it is a calm night-I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm; the tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand. So with the Spirit's work: if it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we should not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we should not know how firm and secure it was. The master-works of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, stedfast, unmoveable,-
"Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory."
He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it-hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.

C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Letter to your children

My dear children,
As your parent, I feel deeply concerned for both your
present and everlasting welfare. Great will be my sorrow
and distress--to see you associated with the worldly, the
careless, or the profane--and to look forward with the fear of
being everlastingly separated from you! O what an idea--to be
separated forever! the parent enjoying unutterable
blessedness--but the child enduring unspeakable, unending woe!


With all the solemn realities of eternity before me I write, and with the deepest
solicitude I beg your attention. Allow me first, my dear child, to call your
attention to the infinite value of your immortal SOUL.
You have a soul which is immortal, destined to live forever. Live it must, live it will, and live forever;
but it is capable of enduring most dreadful, fearful, and
never-ending torments!

I tell you from the mouth of God--
  that you have an immortal soul;
  that there is a glorious heaven--and a dreadful hell;
  that one or the other must be your eternal abode;
and I beseech you to consider seriously, reflect in time, and
flee from the wrath to come!
Your nature is entirely depraved, and always has
been! You were conceived in sin, shaped in iniquity, and brought forth
under the curse of God! You have grown up hitherto in a sinful state:
   every thought of your heart, every word you have spoken,
   every action you have performed, is more or less sinful.
Your heart is a fountain so corrupt, that nothing pure can possibly
proceed from it. God, says of your heart, my
child, that it is "deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked!" Every variety of sin and wickedness
lurks there! It may be concealed from your view, but yet it
is there; and if temptation should present itself,
or the Lord takes off his restraints--it would soon
make its dreadful appearance.
There never was a sin committed by the vilest malefactor, or a crime
perpetrated by the greatest monster of iniquity--but the
seed of that sin or crime is to be found in your
heart! "For from within, out of the heart," says Jesus,
"proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, thefts,
covetousness, wickedness; deceit, lust, an evil eye, pride,
blasphemy, foolishness! All these evil things come from
within and defile a man!" Well then may the Apostle say,
"The carnal mind is enmity against God--for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be! So
then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God!"
Do you think that it is possible, my dear child, for anything good to
come from a heart like this? But just such a heart is yours--and
the reason you do not know it, is because spiritual darkness
and ignorance are spread over your soul; the eyes of your
understanding are darkened, and you are hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin!

From James Smith's 'Parental Solicitude' at http://gracegems.org/Smith3/parental_solicitude.htm

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Afflictions are necessary

(James Smith,
"Afflictions Necessary"
1853)

"He does not afflict willingly." Lamentations 3:33

Here is a fact well known--the Lord afflicts His children.
Trouble never springs out of the dust--nor do afflictions come
by 'chance'. No! Every trial and affliction is sent from our
Father's throne--and its direction is written by our Father's
hand. He appoints the kind, the degree, and the
direction of our afflictions.

We are afflicted with disappointments, losses, and crosses. None
are exempt. None can always escape, for "the Lord tries the
righteous." "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

"He does not afflict willingly." He only grieves us
from necessity. He has fixed His end, which is to make us holy,
and to conform us to the image of His Son; from this, He will
not be diverted--but He will surely accomplish it.

In the afflictions which He sends, God aims at . . .
  our deeper sanctification,

  or our greater usefulness,
  or simply at His own glory,

which is always linked with our good.

He therefore afflicts us--to exercise our graces; these
would otherwise often lie dormant, become weak, fade, and wither.

God afflicts His children--to wean us from the world, to
which we are too much attached, and would be more so, if it were
not for trials, disappointments, and vexations.

God afflicts His children--to  embitter sin, which
is the prolific root, on which every pain, grief and sorrow
grows. 

God afflicts His children--to endear the Savior, who is
our solace in sorrow, and will be our glorious deliverer from
it. Never does Jesus appear so precious--as in the hours of
trouble and trial.

God afflicts His children--to prevent our falling into
temptation, which we would do more frequently, if we were not kept
awake and watchful by our various sorrows.

God afflicts His children--to fit us for usefulness, for
as the land must be ploughed, harrowed, and crushed--if it is to
be fruitful and supply our needs; just so must we be tempted,
tried, and troubled--if we are to be of much use to
man, or to bring much glory to God.

God afflicts His children,
to make us long for heaven--which
we seldom do when all is pleasant, bright, and sunny below.

If God loves us with an infinite love;
if He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His
Son;
if He will make us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the
saints in light;
and if He will correct our faults and our follies

--He must afflict us!
  HT-Grace gems

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brought Low

Brought Low — but Helped
James Smith, 1861


"I was brought low — and He helped me!" Psalm 116:6
The circumstances of the Christian often vary — and it is
no uncommon thing for his frames and feelings to vary with his
circumstances. On this account, many of the Lord's people are either
elevated — or depressed, but seldom enjoy a calm, peaceful,
and settled state of mind. Their depression is great — or their
joys are high. But even this is overruled for their good, and is
sanctified to the humbling of the soul, and the preserving it from
self-importance and pride. What a mercy it is to have a God to go to — let
our frames and feelings be what they may. What a mercy to have one that will
sympathize with us, and of whom it is said, "Like as a father pities his
children — so the Lord pities those who fear him." This was David's
encouragement, and lay at the root of much of his experience, and led him to
say, "I was brought low — and He helped me."


His Painful Condition. "I was brought low." O how low the believer is brought sometimes,
into what straits and trials, into what troubles and distresses!
Sometimes in his outward circumstances, by the loss of property, or friends, or situation; all seems against him, everything seems to conspire together to bring him low.
Sometimes in body, by strong pain, extreme weakness, or nervous disorders; so that everything loses its relish, and he can enjoy nothing earthly. At other times it is distress in the soul, by
violent temptations, by distressing bereavements, by the hidings of the Lord's face, or his withholding divine communications. Now everything appears to be covered with a pall — and gloom and darkness spreads over the soul. But at times the Lord so sanctifies the circumstances, as painful as they are, that they become real blessings:

pride is humbled, false confidence is destroyed, and the man walks softly before the Lord.
Yet at other times — faith is shaken, the heart is straitened, doubts spring up, fears are strong, the evidences are beclouded, prayer becomes a task — and we think that God must be angry with us. This brings us low, lays us prostrate, and we cry plaintively unto God. Then in
answer to the cry of faith, the Lord sends help, or appears for our relief, and soon we are able to say, "I was brought low — and he helped me!"His Encouraging Testimony. "He helped me." Blessed be his holy name, he never allows us to sink — but he comes to our help! He helps us in
trouble:

by rendering his assistance,

by sending us supplies,

by raising us up friends,

by restoring us to health and strength,

by reviving our graces and raising our spirits;

or by imparting a little scriptural light, a little holy love, a little Heavenly dew, or a little spiritual unction. Thus he draws out our souls in prayer, excites hope in his mercy, awakens confidence in his Word — and we sink in deep humility at his footstool. Now we can bear trouble with patience, and look for deliverance with courage. He helps us out of trouble, by turning our captivity as he did Job's. Now . . .

providence smiles,

health returns,

promises are applied,

comfort is imparted,

the Spirit bears his inward witness,

the heart is enlarged,

confidence is produced, and

sweet communion with himself is granted.

This is sending and taking us out of the deep waters. This is bringing us up out of the horrible pit — and setting our feet upon a solid rock. This is like returning to the days of our youth. Now we can sing in the ways of the Lord, because great is the glory of the Lord. Now we can
say with the prophet, "O Lord, I will praise you, though you were angry with me — your anger is turned away, and you comfort me."We must sink — before we rise. This is always true in grace, for before honor — is humility. We must pace the valley of humiliation, before we ascend the mount of high and holy communion with God. And very frequently is it the case, that the
lower we sink — the higher we rise. If the Lord is stripping us, emptying us, pruning us, and bringing us low; so that we feel weak, empty and void of good — it is in order that he may strengthen us with his might, bring us to rest on his Word, fill us with his own love, and lead us to look for everything in Jesus. When brought low — hope should be encouraged. The Lord
will help us. We ought not then to encourage fears, or yield to despondency — but should rather chide ourselves for yielding to such feelings, as David did, when he said, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." He who brings down — will raise up. If the Lord bring us down by his providence — he will support and raise us up by his grace. He may lay us so low — that no hand may be able to reach us but his own; or our affairs may become so perplexed — that no one can
unravel them but himself. But as sure as this is the case, he will appear for us, and work our deliverance. He will never leave us prostrate, for it is his prerogative to raise up the poor out of the dust, and lift up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make
them inherit the throne of glory!
None of God's people die in the pit. Joseph was cast into one — but the coming of the Midianite merchants, caused him to be taken out. Jeremiah was cast into a worse pit — but Ebed-melech
the Ethiopian, was used to deliver him. Just so with us, whatever pit we may fall into, or be thrown into — so sure as Daniel was taken up unhurt out of the den of lions — so shall we be delivered. The church of old testified, "We went through fire and through water — but You brought us out into a wealthy place." Just so shall we shortly be delivered, and when we stand on the borders of the promised land, when we are about to cross the river that separates time from eternity, when about to close the eyes on everything below, we shall then with our dying breath for the comfort of those we leave behind us say, "I was brought low — and He helped me!"
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine! When you go through deep waters — I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty — you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression — you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3

HT-Grace gems