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

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Ancient of Days


 Meditate, dear friends, upon the whole range of God’s works in creation and providence. There was a period when God dwelt alone and creatures were not. In that time before all time, when there was no day but “The Ancient of Days,” when matter and created mind were alike unborn, and even space was not, God, the great I Am, was as perfect, glorious, and blessed as he is now. There was no sun, and yet Jehovah dwelt in light ineffable; there was no earth, and yet his throne stood fast and firm; there were no heavens, and yet his glory was unbounded.

God inhabited eternity in the infinite majesty and happiness of his self-contained greatness. If the Lord, thus abiding in awful solitude, should choose to create anything, the first thought and idea must come of him, for there was no other to think or suggest. All things must be of him in design. With whom can he take counsel? Who shall instruct him? There existed not another to come into the council-chamber, even if such an assistance could be supposable with the Most High. In the beginning of his way before his works of old, eternal wisdom brought forth from its own mind the perfect plan of future creations, and every line and mark therein must clearly have been of the Lord alone. He ordained the pathway of every planet, and the abode of every fixed star. He poured forth the sweet influences of the Pleiades, and girt Orion with his bands. He appointed the bounds of the sea, and settled the course of the winds. As to the earth, the Lord alone planned its foundations, and stretched his line upon it. He formed in his own mind the mold of all his creatures and found for them a dwelling and a service. He appointed the degree of strength with which he would endow each creature, settled its months of life, its hour of death, its coming and its going. Divine wisdom mapped this earth, its flowing rivers and foaming seas, the towering mountains, and the laughing valleys. The divine Architect fixed the gates of the morning and the doors of the shadow of death. Nothing could have been suggested by any other, for there was no other to suggest. It was in his power to have made a universe very different from this, if he had so pleased; and that he has made it what it is, must have been merely because in his wisdom and prudence he saw fit to do so.

 

C. H. Spurgeon
From a sermon entitled "Laus Deo," delivered May 29, 1864.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It is written...





I recently posted a short video by Ray Comfort entitled Genius; in this video Ray does an excellent job of presenting the law. The problem I had with the video is when he asks a sinner when they might repent. I understand some will say this is merely nit-picking, but I must disagree. We simply must get the Gospel right and not add to it nor take from it. Ray did comment on my post, but he did not address his asking sinners to repent. I did address this matter in my response to his comment and wanted to share what I wrote....



"I thought about this after my last comment and feel the need to add this...repentance is not a choice, it is a command given by God to Christ-rejecting, sin-loving, depraved sinners. We are all born in sin, as Psalm 51:5 attests to {concerning man's love of sin and our natural love of it, see also Gen. 8:21, Ps. 58:3, Job 14:4, Job 15:14-16; John 3:6; Rom.5:12; Eph.2:3}.

Sinners will not choose anything but sin, it is our nature to do so. I love what Charles Spurgeon said concerning man's inability to come to Christ on his own..."Permit me to show you wherein this inability of man really does lie. It lies deep in his nature. Through the fall, and through our own sin, the nature of man has become so debased, and depraved, and corrupt, that it is impossible for him to come to Christ without the assistance of God the Holy Spirit."
This is why we cannot ask sinners to repent, or to accept Jesus, or invite Him into their hearts. When we ask them questions like that, we are doing a ministry that is reserved solely for God the Spirit; not only that, we are asking them to do something they are unable to do because of their depraved state, being dead in sin means they are unable to do anything. God must re-birth the sinner, in so doing they then are able to understand their own depravity, their hopeless condition. This is why the publican cried out 'O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' He understood, by grace, his true state. Grace is what is necessary for salvation, not coercing or prodding sinners to act in a manner contrary to their nature.

I do pray for you brother, and would ask you do the same for me. The Gospel truth, the whole counsel, which includes the doctrines of grace, is much too important to add to or take away from. We must understand the depraved state of man and his inability to do anything but sin; we must rightly comprehend God's amazing grace and Christ's perfect and fully acceptable atoning work as well as His righteous life plus the ministry of God the Spirit as the Trinity bring a sinner from darkness to light. Lastly, we absolutely, positively MUST remember, the power of salvation lies in the proper proclaiming of the Gospel, not in invitations or in promptings by us to get the sinner to respond"



I believe we need to follow the example of the Apostles when they proclaimed Christ and His Gospel; nowhere in Scripture do we find them asking sinners 'when do you think you might repent?'

Here is what we do find...
 "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." - Acts 2:38-39
Christ commands sinners to repent as well in Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 5:32, and Luke 24:47.

 He never gave them a list of choices, He never added a 'work' for them to do in order to help bring salvation about; He NEVER presented truth as though it were debatable or dependent upon their response or actions.

When tempted by Satan in Matthew, the Lord responded, "it is written". He did not then say, 'now, do you think you'll make a decision for me?', or 'when might you ask me into your heart?' These questions are silly, I know, but the point I am making is this; we should follow this example of sticking with 'it is written' and not tack on questions to our proclaiming of the Gospel. We have been passed down a most noble task from those who've gone before us; Dr. Boice, A. W. Tozer, A. W. Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Cotton Mathers, and many more - all the way back to the 12 Apostles....the beginning of which is Christ Himself.  We must handle the Gospel of Christ as though it were a precious commodity; not wanting to change, modify, or tweak it for fear of it losing its value. A Gospel that is added to or taken away from becomes an accursed gospel, which is no gospel at all. This type of gospel has no power, no worth, no effectiveness. This is why it is a very big deal on how we proclaim God's truth, the whole counsel, to the unregenerate. When we play fast and loose with the word of God, we show how little reverence we have for His word as well as a lack of trust in the power of His word - "so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

 We are to proclaim truth and not tamper with it. When tampered with, we suck the life out of it and render it useless. We should do as those who've gone on before us have done; men like Robert Murray M'Cheyne who being conscious of the great responsibility before him said, "Began in fear and weakness, and in much trembling. May the power be of God!"
It's been said of M'Cheyne by his peers, "He was convinced that a diligent minister ought to expect success in God's service, but he saw that he could not hope for such success unless he were willing to preach Christ for Christ's sake alone." M'Cheyne understood who this God he proclaimed was and his reverence for Him ran deep, as one of his best known poems reflects....
                                  When I stand before the throne,
                                  Dressed in beauty not my own,
                                  When I see Thee as Thou art,
                                  Love Thee with unsinning heart.
                                  Then Lord, shall I fully know—
                                  Not till then—how much I owe.

May God honor His word, may His blessings be added to the proclaiming of His truth. May His people tremble at His word and treat it as it is...holy, precious, undefiled, powerful, true and timeless.





          

Human Inability-Charles Spurgeon


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For God so loved the world, the proper exegesis of John 3:16

This is a clear biblical defense of who the 'world' is and 'whosoever' is...






Free will or bondage of the will

This is an absolutely fascinating article by Bob DeWaay  on the human will. Do take some time to read this...


“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6)
Questions from readers prompt the writing of many CIC articles. The most frequently asked question that I have not addressed until now concerns free will. I thoroughly researched this topic nearly ten years ago. The reason for the delay is the complexity of the topic. Given, however, that the question continues to be asked, I shall address it now.
Dear readers, be warned in advance that the irreducible complexity of the topic will make this article difficult for many to follow. If you are a new reader, please be patient, this is not standard fare on these pages. To help those who have difficulty digesting philosophical arguments, I have provided summary statements at the end of sections. Feel free to skip forward to those summary statements if you see fit.
Please realize that free will is more of a philosophical concept than a theological one, though it has theological implications. However, I often see well meaning Christians misled by certain teachers who make their own understanding of free will a test for orthodoxy. I think this is unfortunate and confusing. If the following discussion does nothing else, it will show you that free will is not the simple solution to many important theological issues that many people think it is.


Two Definitions

I will be discussing two alternative definitions of free will. The first is the typical definition demanded by Arminians (those who believe that a free will choice to believe brings about salvation): “The ability to choose between options, either of which could be actualized by the act of choosing.” The second definition was proposed by Jonathan Edwards: “The ability to choose as one pleases.” I will explain these in the pages that follow and defend the second one. In so doing I will discuss several problems that arise in seeking to understand free will.


read on here...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Who's in Charge?

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men in their philosophizing and theorizing, relegating God to the background. Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything, by personal and direct action, but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the (impersonal and abstract) "laws of Nature". Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation. Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is "a free agent", and therefore, lord of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny. That Satan is to be blamed for much of the evil which is in the world, is freely affirmed by those who, though having so much to say about "the responsibility of man", often deny their own responsibility, by attributing to the Devil what, in fact, proceeds from their own evil hearts (Mark 7 :21-23).
But who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? Attempt to take a serious and comprehensive view of the world. What a scene of confusion and chaos confronts us on every side! Sin is rampant; lawlessness abounds; evil men and seducers are waxing "worse and worse" (2 Tim. 3:13). Today, everything appears to be out of joint. Thrones are creaking and tottering, ancient dynasties are being overturned, democracies are revolting, civilization is a demonstrated failure; half of Christendom was but recently locked-together in a death grapple; and now that the titanic conflict is over, instead of the world having been made "safe for democracy", we have discovered that democracy is very unsafe for the world. Unrest, discontent, and lawlessness are rife every where, and none can say how soon another great war will be set in motion. Statesmen are perplexed and staggered. Men’s hearts are "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). Do these things look as though God had full control?
But let us confine our attention to the religious realm. After nineteen centuries of Gospel preaching, Christ is still "despised and rejected of men". Worse still, He (the Christ of Scripture) is proclaimed and magnified by very few. In the majority of modern pulpits He is dishonored and disowned. Despite frantic efforts to attract the crowds, the majority of the churches are being emptied rather than filled. And what of the great masses of non-church goers? In the light of Scripture we are compelled to believe that the "many" are on the Broad Road that leadeth to destruction, and that only "few" are on the Narrow Way that leadeth unto life. Many are declaring that Christianity is a failure, and despair is settling on many faces. Not a few of the Lord’s own people are bewildered, and their faith is being severely tried. And what of God? Does He see and hear? Is He impotent or indifferent? A number of those who are regarded as leaders of Christian-thought told us that, God could not help the coming of the late awful War, and that He was unable to bring about its termination. It was said, and said openly, that conditions were beyond God’s control. Do these things look as though God were ruling the world?
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? What impression is made upon the minds of those men of the world who, occasionally, attend a Gospel service? What are the conceptions formed by those who hear even those preachers who are counted as "orthodox"? Is it not that a disappointed God is the One whom Christians believe in? From what is heard from the average evangelist today, is not any serious hearer obliged to conclude that he professes to represent a God who is filled with benevolent intentions, yet unable to carry them out; that He is earnestly desirous of blessing men, but that they will not let Him? Then, must not the average hearer draw the inference that the Devil has gained the upper hand, and that God is to be pitied rather than blamed?
But does not everything seem to show that the Devil has far more to do with the affairs of earth than God has? Ah, it all depends upon whether we are walking by faith, or walking by sight. Are your thoughts, my reader, concerning this world and God’s relation to it, based upon what you see? Face this question seriously and honestly. And if you are a Christian, you will, most probably, have cause to bow your head with shame and sorrow, and to acknowledge that it is so. Alas, in reality, we walk very little "by faith". But what does "walking by faith" signify? It means that our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives molded by the Holy Scriptures, for, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone, that we can learn what is God’s relation to this world.
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures? Ere we consider the direct reply to this query, let it be said that, the Scriptures predicted just what we now see and hear. The prophecy of Jude is in course of fulfillment. It would lead us too far astray from our present inquiry to fully amplify this assertion, but what we have particularly in mind is a sentence in verse 8—"Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion and speak evil of dignities." Yes, they "speak evil" of the Supreme Dignity, the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords." Ours is peculiarly an age of irreverence, and as the consequence, the spirit of lawlessness, which brooks no restraint and which is desirous of casting off everything which interferes with the free course of self-will, is rapidly engulfing the earth like some giant tidal wave. The members of the rising generation are the most flagrant offenders, and in the decay and disappearing of parental authority we have the certain precursor of the abolition of civic authority. Therefore, in view of the growing disrespect for human law and the refusal to "render honor to whom honor is due," we need not be surprised that the recognition of the majesty, the authority, the sovereignty of the Almighty Law-giver should recede more and more into the background, and that the masses have less and less patience with those who insist upon them. And conditions will not improve; instead, the more sure Word of Prophecy makes known to us that they will grow worse and worse. Nor do we expect to be able to stem the tide—it has already risen much too high for that. All we can now hope to do is warn our fellow-saints against the spirit of the age, and thus seek to counteract its baneful influence upon them.
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again, that God is on the throne of the universe; that the sceptre is in His hands; that He is directing all things "after the counsel of His own will". They affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm that God is the "Almighty", that His will is irreversible, that He is absolute sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions. And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures. Accepting the fact that He is the "Most High", the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power, and the conclusion is irresistible that He must be God in fact, as well as in name.
It is in view of what we have briefly referred to above. that we say, Present-day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God’s omnipotency, God’s sufficiency, God’s sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns. Faith is now in the crucible, it is being tested by fire, and there is no fixed and sufficient resting-place for the heart and mind but in the Throne of God. What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. Drastic diseases call for drastic remedies. People are weary of platitudes and mere generalizations—the call is for something definite and specific. Soothing-syrup may serve for peevish children, but an iron tonic is better suited for adults, and we know of nothing which is more calculated to infuse spiritual vigor into our frames than a scriptural apprehension of the full character of God. It is written, "The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32).
Without a doubt a world-crisis is at hand, and everywhere men are alarmed. But God is not! He is never taken by surprise. It is no unexpected emergency which now confronts Him, for He is the One who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11). Hence, though the world is panic-stricken, the word to the believer is, "Fear not"! "All things" are subject to His immediate control: "all things" are moving in accord with His eternal purpose, and therefore, "all things" are "working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." It must be so, for "of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things" (Rom. 11:36). Yet how little is this realized today even by the people of God! Many suppose that He is little more than a far-distant Spectator, taking no immediate hand in the affairs of earth. It is true that man has a will, but so also has God. It is true that man is endowed with power, but God is all-powerful. It is true that, speaking generally, the material world is regulated by law, but behind that law is the law-Giver and law-Administrator. Man is but the creature. God is the Creator, and endless ages before man first saw the light "the mighty God" (Isa. 9:6) existed, and ere the world was founded, made His plans; and being infinite in power and man only finite, His purpose and plan cannot be withstood or thwarted by the creatures of His own hands.
We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: "We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy", of which it is said ye do well that ye "take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2 Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to "take heed," to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, "the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit." We say again, it is to this "Word" we do well to take heed. As we turn to this Word and are instructed there, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—"In the beginning God"! Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His out-poured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes.
But let it be said very emphatically that the heart can only rest upon and enjoy the blessed truth of the absolute sovereignty of God as faith is in exercise. Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it: that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures "as seeing Him who is invisible" (Heb. 11:27) : endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life, by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places" (Ps. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight or of sense.
But if instead of bowing to the testimony of Holy Writ, if instead of walking by faith, we follow the evidence of our eyes, and reason therefrom, we shall fall into a quagmire of virtual atheism. Or, if we are regulated by the opinions and views of others, peace will be at an end. Granted that there is much in this world of sin and, suffering which appalls and saddens us; granted that there is much in the providential dealings of God which startle and stagger us; that is no reason why we should unite with the unbelieving worldling who says, "If I were God, I would not allow this or tolerate that" etc. Better far, in the presence of bewildering mystery, to say with one of old, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because Thou didst it" (Ps. 39:9). Scripture tells us that God’s judgments are "unsearchable", and His ways "past finding out" (Rom. 11:33). It must be so if faith is to be tested, confidence in His wisdom and righteousness strengthened, and submission to His holy will fostered.
Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is "of the world," judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he rejoices in hope of the glory of God.
In these opening paragraphs we have indicated the lines of thought followed out in this book. Our first postulate is that because God is God, He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, and therefore Sovereign of the universe. Starting with this postulate we have contemplated the exercise of God’s Sovereignty, first in Creation, second in Governmental Administration over the works of His hands, third in the Salvation of His own elect, fourth in the Reprobation of the wicked, and fifth in Operation upon and within men. Next we have viewed the Sovereignty of God as it relates to the human will in particular and human Responsibility in general, and have sought to show what is the only becoming attitude for the creature to take in view of the majesty of the Creator. A separate chapter has been set apart for a consideration of some of the difficulties which are involved, and to answering the questions which are likely to be raised in the minds of our readers; while one chapter has been devoted to a more careful yet brief examination of God’s Sovereignty in relation to prayer. Finally, we have sought to show that the Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comfort of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. A due apprehension of God’s Sovereignty promotes the spirit of worship, provides an incentive to practical godliness, and inspires zeal in service. It is deeply humbling to the human heart, but in proportion to the degree that it brings man into the dust before his Maker, to that extent is God glorified.
We are well aware that what we have written is in open opposition to much of the teaching that is current both in religious literature and in the representative pulpits of the land. We freely grant that the postulate of God’s Sovereignty with all its corollaries is at direct variance with the opinions and thoughts of the natural man, but the truth is, we are quite unable to think upon these matters: we are incompetent for forming a proper estimate of God’s character and ways, and it is because of this that God has given us a revelation of His mind, and in that revelation He plainly declares, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Is. 55:8,9). In view of this scripture, it is only to be expected that much of the contents of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Our appeal then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the Law and Testimony of Jehovah. All that we ask for is an impartial and attentive examination of what we have written, and that, made prayerfully in the light of the Lamp of Truth. May the reader heed the Divine admonition to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21).


Responding to Evil...

I found this tweet, "3288 children aborted in America the same day that the 20 were gunned down at Sandy Hook, but without national outrage." This isn't to take away from the horrific tragedy that took place, which is God's judgment on a wicked nation, it shows the ignorance of the wicked. They are outraged over the slaughter of  these 20 children, and rightly so. Even the President professes a degree of outrage, which is hypocritical. He condones the slaughter of children, to the tune of approximately 4,000 a day, and yet professes outrage at the shooting of 20 children. He should win an emmy or a golden globe for his performance. Children suffer daily in this world in various tragic forms, families no longer consider the Bible and God as the great necessity for raising children. They are saturated with graphic video games, ipods, ipads, gadgets that do nothing to enhance human relationships. They are desensitized by their culture and when tragedy strikes, we must search for answers...it has to be mental illness right? How about truth, people are sinful, wicked, vile...all of mankind. All deserve wrath, all have sinned against God.


I believe this sermon by Dr. James White is very beneficial to the tragedy that took place.









"Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men in their philosophizing and theorizing, relegating God to the background. Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything, by personal and direct action, but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the (impersonal and abstract) "laws of Nature". Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation. Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is "a free agent", and therefore, lord of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny. That Satan is to be blamed for much of the evil which is in the world, is freely affirmed by those who, though having so much to say about "the responsibility of man", often deny their own responsibility, by attributing to the Devil what, in fact, proceeds from their own evil hearts (Mark 7 :21-23)." A. W. Pink, from 'The Sovereignty of God'

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Human Will

This is a well written piece from A. W. Pink concerning the sovereignty of God and the will of man...




Concerning the nature and the power of fallen man s will, the greatest confusion prevails today, and the most erroneous views are held, even by many of God’s children. The popular idea now prevailing, and which is taught from the great majority of pulpits, is that man has a "free will", and that salvation comes to the sinner through his will co-operating with the Holy Spirit. To deny the "free will" of man, i.e. his power to choose that which is good, his native ability to accept Christ, is to bring one into disfavor at once, even before most of those who profess to be orthodox. And yet Scripture emphatically says, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy" (Rom. 9:16). Which shall we believe: God, or the preachers?
But some one may reply, Did not Joshua say to Israel, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve"? Yes, he did; but why not complete his sentence?"whether the gods that your fathers served which were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell" (Josh. 24:15)! But why attempt to pit scripture against scripture? The Word of God never contradicts itself, and the Word expressly declares, "There is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11). Did not Christ say to the men of His day, "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40)? Yes, but some did "come" to Him, some did receive Him. True and who were they? John 1:12, 13 tells us; "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God"!
But does not Scripture say, "Whosoever will may come"? {Concerning this, I highly recommend Jim McClarty's study on John 3:16 which you can watch here}
 It does, but does this signify that everybody has the will to come? What of those who won’t come? "Whosoever will may come" no more implies that fallen man has the power (in himself) to come, than "Stretch forth thine hand" implied that the man with the withered arm had ability (in himself) to comply. In and of himself the natural man has power to reject Christ; but in and of himself he has not the power to receive Christ. And why? Because he has a mind that is "enmity against" Him (Rom. 8:7); because he has a heart that hates Him (John 15:18). Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore before he will ever choose or prefer that which is divine and spiritual, a new nature must be imparted to him; in other words, he must be born again.


you may continue reading here...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Let us praise Him!!


The Sovereignty of God - by A. W. Pink

My last post was on reprobation, which is an act of God's sovereign will. In that post, I included Pink's writings on reprobation, found in chapter five of his book on the sovereignty of God. I thought it was only fitting that I should post the link to the entire book for those who have not read it, or have read it but may desire to read it again. Briefly, from chapter one, Pink writes...




The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God’s sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology, should be so sadly neglected and so little understood.
The sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.
How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which prevails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a blasphemous travesty of the Truth. The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the respect of no really thoughtful man. The God of the popular mind is the creation of a maudlin sentimentality. The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence.[1] To say that God the Father has purposed the salvation of all mankind, that God the Son died with the express intention of saving the whole human race, and that God the Holy Spirit is now seeking to win the world to Christ; when, as a matter of common observation, it is apparent that the great majority of our fellow-men are dying in sin, and passing into a hopeless eternity: is to say that God the Father is disappointed, that God the Son is dissatisfied, and that God the Holy Spirit is defeated. We have stated the issue baldly, but there is no escaping the conclusion. To argue that God is "trying His best" to save all mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him save them, is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent. To throw the blame, as many do, upon the Devil, does not remove the difficulty, for if Satan is defeating the purpose of God, then, Satan is Almighty and God is no longer the Supreme Being.



I encourage you to read this masterpiece from Pink by going here....

Reprobation

I will provide a couple of links for this post with snippets from each link. The first is from Loraine Boettner, the second from Jerome Zanchius.

                       UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION- Reprobation 
                                    by Loraine Boettner


The doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms “elect” and “election” imply the terms “non-elect” and “reprobation.” When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter. This, too, is of God. We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam’s posterity in their sins, and that the decisive factor in the life of each is to be found only in God’s will. As Mozley has said, the whole race after the fall was “one mass of perdition,” and “it pleased God of His sovereign mercy to rescue some and to leave others where they were; to raise some to glory, giving them such grace as necessarily qualified them for it, and abandon the rest, from whom He withheld such grace, to eternal punishment.”1

The chief difficulty with the doctrine of Election of course arises in regard to the unsaved; and the Scriptures have given us no extended explanation of their state. Since the mission of Jesus in the world was to save the world rather than to judge it, this side of the matter is less dwelt upon.

In all of the Reformed creeds in which the doctrine of Reprobation is dealt with at all it is treated as an essential part of the doctrine of Predestination. The Westminster Confession, after stating the doctrine of election, adds: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the inscrutable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.”2

Those who hold the doctrine of Election but deny that of Reprobation can lay but little claim to consistency. To affirm the former while denying the latter makes the decree of predestination an illogical and lop-sided decree. The creed which states the former but denies the latter will resemble a wounded eagle attempting to fly with but one wing. In the interests of a “mild Calvinism” some have been inclined to give up the doctrine of Reprobation, and this term (in itself a very innocent term) has been the entering wedge for harmful attacks upon Calvinism pure and simple. “Mild Calvinism” is synonymous with sickly Calvinism, and sickness, if not cured, is the beginning of the end. 

continue reading here...



                                      REPROBATION  
                                   by Jerome Zanchius


2 Peter 3:9 - Does God desire to save all of mankind?

Here is a proper exegesis of this twisted verse used by the 'free will' camp to justify their stance...





Thursday, December 6, 2012

'Tis the season'

I just dropped my daughter off at her friend's house across town, as I drove there and back I saw houses lit up with Christmas decorations. There were Santas that lit up, reindeer, a blow-up Snoopy from the Charlie Brown cartoon, fences with lights, rooftops with lights, trees with lights...you get the picture. We decorate our houses and stuff presents under a tree for our loved ones and gather with family for a festive time. I have but one question, how does all that relate to this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

God's own Son came to this world for one purpose...to die.  Christ hung on a cross, in excruciating pain as He took God's wrath upon Himself and bore our sins, He endured the insults and mockings of ignorant sinners as well as the scourging He suffered; the cruelty of death on a cross is unimaginable. How can we make light of this by making the birth of Christ mean nothing more than a materialistic, self-centered holiday that includes lying to children concerning a fictitious fat guy in a red suit that brings them everything their carnal hearts desire? This is what one would expect from a culture that is unregenerate, a culture that cares nothing for the Son of God and knows nothing of His birth and its purpose; a culture that knows nothing of its own wickedness and depravity. The reason Christ came was so sinners may be reconciled back to a Holy God, the story of His birth leads us to His death on the cross.  It is our duty to proclaim this truth to a culture that is steeped in sin and sinks deeper into the abyss with each passing moment.

It's believed that the birth of Christ was not in the winter at all, shepherds to not keep their flocks at night in the dead of winter - "And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.   And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

In commentary from Adam Clarke concerning the timing of Christ's birth he states "It was an ancient custom among the Jews of those days to send their sheep to the fields and deserts about Passover (early spring)and bring them home at commencement of the first rain...During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day, as... the first rains began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our
October... we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer, and as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks,
it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced(begun), and consequently,
our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up."
- Adam Clark Commentary, Volume 5, page 347


 A  more likely scenario is that Jesus was born in the early fall season, around the time of the  Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-36), when Joseph and Mary would have traveled to Jerusalem to keep the Feast along with thousands of other Jewish families.
This also explains why in the town Bethlehem, a few miles to the south of Jerusalem, "there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7)- the town would have been crowded with other travelers keeping the Feast at this time of year. Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break and die hard. 

Are we really glorifying God if we partake in the world's celebration of Christmas, which has no Christ in it and isn't even accurate as far as the time of His birth {not to mention what is most important, why He stepped down from heaven, humbled Himself and came here in the first place!} ? That is a personal matter between each of us and our LORD. It saddens me to see houses and yards lit up, and yet, the darkness has never been darker. There is much work to be done, and time grows ever so short. We are seeing an increase in hostility towards biblical truth and those who dare take a stance in it as the delusional deceptive lies of Satan and his pawns grows

 Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, " For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts will they multiply to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they will turn away their ears from the truth, and will be turned to fables." Now is a time for fervent prayer and for the faithful proclamation of the only hope this world has as it entertains itself to death and heaps up temporal treasures while it travels fast and furious down the broad road, blind and ignorant to the eternal hell that awaits...let us speak of Christ's Gospel and await His soon and sudden return.  



I also recommend this article

Their foot shall slide in due time

Jonathan Edward's exceptional sermon 'Sinners in the hands of an angry God' is wonderfully narrated here by Max McClean. This is such a necessary sermon for our day, just as it was in Edward's day...


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ray Comfort's 'Genius'

This is amazing, people professing to be Christian, some famous, others not, and yet, they admit they would kill for money, or are cross-dressers;this is the product of the 'invite Jesus into your heart', 'praying the sinner's prayer' and other man-made methods of salvation that do not save. I am not a fan of 'canned evangelism', where you rehearse your responses, or where everything is 'scripted'. Relying on your own wisdom will not win souls to Christ.







**Note: I do NOT agree with Comfort's method of delivering the Gospel, telling sinners they need to repent and asking them when they will do so. He fails to understand man's depravity, his inability to receive the gift apart from grace. He tells them they can receive eternal life by repenting and trusting in Jesus, which a depraved sinner is unable to do. Ray presents repentance as a choice given to the sinner instead of what it really is...a command by Almighty God.
  Sinners must throw themselves on the mercy of God {which the preaching of the Gospel causes them to do}; to tell them they must repent is an impossible task apart from grace. The preaching of the whole counsel {which includes the Gospel} and the giving of the law is what plows the heart, breaks up the fallow ground and causes the sinner to cry out; this is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, not the messenger. We should indeed tell sinners the Bible commands us to repent, but we should never tell sinners to repent and then ask them when they might do so.   It would seem Ray Comfort is part of the problem, and not the solution to the state of superficial Christianity in America.

"Ye must be born again" - the doctrine of regeneration...impossible for mankind to attain apart from grace.**

Show me your glory

This is a 'must hear' sermon for all God's people by Dr. Steven Lawson...


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Sufferings of Christ

This short excerpt from Jonathan Edwards is excellent, this comes from the Puritan's woodshop...



“Those last sufferings of Christ, were in some respect like a fire to refine the gold. For though the furnace purged away no dross or filthiness, yet it increased the preciousness of the gold; it added to the finite holiness of the human nature of Christ. Hence Christ calls his offering himself up, his sanctifying himself; John 17:19 ‘And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.’ Hence he calls those last sufferings a baptism that he was to be baptized with. It was a baptism to him in two respects, as it purged him from imputed guilt, and as it increased his holiness by the Spirit of God, that gave him those terrible but sanctifying views. And so this is one way in which the Captain of our salvation is made perfect by sufferings; Heb. 2:10, 5:9, and Luke 13:22. Thus Christ, before he was glorified, was prepared for that high degree of glory and joy he was to be exalted to, by being first sanctified in the furnace.”


- Jonathan Edwards, Miscellaneous Remarks of Satisfaction For Sin, found in Works, volume 2, page 575

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Power of Grace

Our hearts are weaned from the world and its lure by grace, how little do most understand God's grace and how it is used in His people. This sermon by Matthew Mead sets out to show us how grace weans us from the world and its deadly over-empowering draw...

"Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother. My soul is even as a weaned child." Psalm 131:1-2
Chrysostom, in commending the grace of humility, says, "Humility is the foundation of Christian virtue." Indeed, humility is the ornament of all the graces of God's Spirit. Grace is the beauty of the soul, and humility is the beauty of grace.
Now David, being about to commend this grace to the saints, does propound himself as an example of it in this Psalm: "My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me." Psalm 131:1.
But what was it, which thus humbled David's heart, and took him off from doting upon the world's grandeur, and from delighting himself in present enjoyments?
Why God had, by the power of his grace, taken his heart off from all things here below, by showing him the vanity and emptiness of them; so that he was wholly weaned from them. So he says, verse 2, "I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child."
Doctrine: "Where the grace of God takes hold of the soul—it makes it as a weaned child, to all worldly things."
I. In the discussing this doctrine, I shall show you what it is to be "as a weaned child."
II. I shall show you that there is a great resemblance between a weaned child and a gracious soul.
III. I shall show you how grace weans the heart from all worldly things.



continue reading here...

Sunday, December 2, 2012