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, May 31, 2013

A Depraved Mind

This sermon is from Pastor David Dykstra from Romans 1 concerning the depraved mind. God's truth in America is suppressed, society reflects that. As Pastor Dykstra states in his sermon, 'how timeless is Romans 1?!' Sin is no longer shameful in America, instead it is celebrated.

Listen to this sermon by going here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the fate of the homosexual

In another post entitled 'when the wicked seize a city', I introduced the book written by Pastor Chuck McIlhenry on the true nature of homosexuality, and the agenda of the homosexual community. I wanted to share more from this book, showing the fate of the homosexual, and I don't mean just their eternal fate; that in and of itself is the most terrifying end of such a abomination. I certainly do not want to make light of that, however, I think it's just as important to look at the temporal aspect of this sin. The dark depravity of this sin and its powerful bondage are truly frightening, and very much misunderstood by many. 

I want to look at the defiance of those who practice this sin, knowing it can lead to death and yet, defying the warnings and continuing in their deviant practice of unsafe perversion. Romans 1:27 comes to mind when reading of such defiance, '...and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.'   I also want to stress, as this book does, to show them the love of Jesus Christ. There is no one beyond the reach of God's grace, and I must always remember, 'but by the grace of God, I am what I am'...

Let's look at the lives of two homosexual men who died as a direct result of their devious perversion and yet they did not have the same fate..

Tragically, recent newspaper reports indicate that the younger, more militant gays are continuing to engage in high risk sexual activities, in spite of their knowledge of the AIDS virus. An article in the Washington Post 24 June 1990, for example, points out that “gay and bisexual men under age 30 are twice as likely to transmit the AIDS-causing HIV virus—than older men.” A year later, the situation has not gotten any better, in spite of millions of tax dollars spent on AIDS education since 1980. According to a Washington Times article, a study conducted by the San Francisco Health Commission showed that young gays were ignoring warnings against “unprotected sex.” The article states in part: “The first study found that 24% to 42% of young homosexual men were found to engage in unprotected anal intercourse ... It was higher in the youngest age group—the opposite of what we expected,” said Dr. (George) Lemp (of the San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS office). “The trend is of concern.” “The second new San Francisco study found that, despite the 1980s media blitz, high percentages of minority men—of all ages-still practice unsafe sex. 

“Researchers discovered that 12% of surveyed homosexual American Indians, 40% of homosexual Filipinos and 50% of homosexual Latin men engage in at-risk sexual behavior. Earlier findings revealed that 32% of African-American men have unprotected sex” (The Washington Times, 6 June 1991). It is sad to realize that a majority of these young men will die in their mid-thirties of a terribly painful, wasting disease—a disease that turns them into living skeletons. Yet, thousands of these young men will die prematurely because of their deviant sexual behaviors. These men continue to defiantly march to death much like lemmings over a cliff.

  In spite of all that we’ve experienced as a family and church at the hands of gay and pro-gay activists, we have attempted, to the best of our ability and by God’s grace, to show them the love of Christ. David Hummel, a lay-Episcopal parson, considered himself a gay Christian. Several years ago, David carried the sign “Thank God I’m Gay!” in the Gay Pride Parade. He saw no inconsistency with his behavior and what Scripture teaches. We spent many years warning him to turn from his sinful lifestyle and flee to Christ before it was too late. Through the years, we told David that we’d be here for him if he contracted AIDS. I asked him to call me if he should contract the virus and that we’d do whatever we could to comfort and provide for his needs. After resisting our efforts for years, the sad day eventually came when David called, reporting that the doctors had diagnosed him with AIDS. He had both Kaposi sarcoma and Pneumocystis, two of the more devastating diseases resulting from immune deficiency syndrome, and was going into the hospital for treatment. He asked me to come visit him. We prayed, and I read Scripture to him. However, as to whether he ever turned from his homosexual lifestyle, we don’t know for sure. He’d never tell us. Now he’s in the Lord’s hands. In a wheelchair and with an oxygen mask covering his face, David led a procession of people with AIDS in the 1987 Gay Pride Parade. A few weeks later, David died.  

 One day we received a phone call from a young man we’d taught in our youth group at a church in southern California. The teenager had grown up to become a successful aide in the California legislature; he had also secretly imbibed the gay subculture, unbeknown to his family and friends. It had finally taken its toll. He was dying of AIDS at the age of thirty-three. Stan knew he was dying. His call was not one of desperation. He wasn’t looking for a quick-fix solution for his problem—a miracle to save him from the inevitability of dying. No, Stan’s call was one of responsibility. He knew he had to get right with the Lord. On several occasions, we visited with him at the nursing home in Sacramento, where he lived out his few remaining days. Unlike David, he repented of his sin and found forgiveness in God’s grace. His close friends organized a memorial service for him in a church near the capitol building. I preached the sermon. Although his death seemed premature and a tragic waste to us, Stan had made his peace with God. He was ready to go home to be with the Lord; and we were confident that, as with all repentant sinners, the Lord met Stan with open arms and said “well done My good and faithful servant, enter into My rest.” 

As we write this, there’s a man in our own presbytery who just learned that he has the HIV virus. I went to his mother’s home with him to break the news to her. This young seminarian was afraid that the church community would not understand, but he knows that if anyone is equipped and called to minister to him, it is the Church of Jesus Christ—our congregation and his own. Throughout the years, we’ve attempted to share the gospel with AIDS patients in our local hospitals, but we have been continually rebuffed by so-called Christian gays and San Francisco politicians. A few years ago, I had a private conversation with Supervisor Harry Britt about visiting and ministering to AIDS patients. Supervisor Britt told me that I could minister to them only if I would change my message. Drop the “sin” issue! I would not be welcome to minister to any AIDS patient in the city hospital unless that message changed. To date, the local general hospital’s policy has required that all those wanting to minister on the AIDS ward take a counseling course originally sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese. In this course instructors discourage the use of the Bible in ministering to any AIDS patient. I am a board member of the Christian AIDS Council, a small organization begun by various evangelical pastors and laymen. The Council’s purpose is to show people with AIDS that conservative Bible believers care about the needs of these individuals no matter who or what they are. As a council, we have had limited opportunities to pray with and comfort those in need.

Showing Christ's love...

Donna {Pastor Chuck's wife} was at work one day talking to a woman who was reacting to the news that the rear window of our car had just been smashed by vandals. Another incident in a long list of senseless harassment. She said to Donna, “You must really hate whoever is doing this to your family.” To which Donna replied, “Actually, no. At times I’m afraid of them, and at times I’m angry, but hatred consumes the hater. They hate us. I can only pity them.” If we hate our enemies, we become as our enemies.

 In dealing with the persecution, the fear, and the vandalism, we both realize that we have to love them in Christ, regardless of what they do to us. If you get involved in opposing immorality in your community, you, too, have to love them, in spite of what they say or do to you. It’s not easy by any means, but love, as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is the only answer if we are going to persevere. It really does take the love of God shed abroad in our hearts to continue to stand against the wiles and crafts of Satan in this spiritual warfare. 

We’ve learned that even when you have the best of motives and attempt to help gay men, they’ll probably still hate you. However, it’s still your responsibility and privilege to love them for Christ’s sake. Unless that be the core of your ministry, you will fail, and you will eventually become resentful and spiteful. All of us have a responsibility to witness the truth of the gospel to gays and to help them leave that “death-style.” Regretfully, the Church has in many ways failed in its duty—not only in this area of concern—but in many other areas as well. 

Our goal in San Francisco is to keep on doing what we’ve been called to do until the Lord leads us elsewhere. We know that as long as we’re faithful to what He has called us to, He will protect and vindicate us, even though the world may never appreciate or understand such out-of-this-world motives or the stubborn stand we’ve taken. We believe that what has happened to us and to our family is only a foretaste of what will happen to you, your church, and your community if you fail to aggressively win them to Christ in every area of life. 
We must oppose all such legislated immorality by the force of love for Christ and His Kingdom. We are called to be salt and light, says Jesus. But, if the salt loses its savor—if we refuse to get actively engaged in our society at EVERY LEVEL—our salt will be useless and will be trampled underfoot by men. It is our duty as Christians to work to preserve decency and law and order based upon the foundation of the Gospel of the grace of God (Ps. 11:3-4). We are not simply called to preach the gospel and wait for a rapture to take us off the “sinking ship” of failing human culture. Jesus’ own prayer in John 17 is that we “would not be taken out of the world but that we would be kept from evil. . . .” 

We’re afraid many in the Church have forgotten their Church history. The gospel message not only changes individuals but also changes whole societies, whole nations as well. The Christian is not simply to possess the knowledge of God in his heart and keep it to himself. He is to put his faith into action: feeding the poor, working for prison reform, caring for unwed mothers, and, yes, helping AIDS patients through the dying as well as the living process for Jesus’ sake. This book is not simply the story of how the McIlhennys have been persecuted by militant homosexuals. It is not written to elicit pity for us. We’re writing this as a wake up call to a sleeping Church. Either the Church wakes up and gets involved in society at large, or we face incredible persecution at the hands of individuals and governments (city, state, and national) who hate the God of the Bible and want His people and message destroyed from the earth once and for all. How often has the world attempted to do that and miserably failed? Either the Church becomes militant in its opposition to sin, and aggressive for righteousness and healing, or we will see the collapse of our entire culture into a hedonistic nightmare—with deadly consequences for millions.  --- Chuck MclLhenry, 'when the wicked seize a city'

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Cross and Self

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any will come after Me
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”

Matthew 16:24
Ere developing the theme of this verse let us comment on its terms. “If any”: the duty enjoined is for all who would join Christ’s followers and enlist under His banner. “If any will”: the Greek is very emphatic, signifying not only the consent of the will, but full purpose of heart, a determined resolution. “Come after Me”: as a servant subject to his Master, a scholar his Teacher, a soldier his Captain. “Deny”: the Greek means “deny utterly.” Deny himself: his sinful and corrupt nature. “And take up”: not passively bear or endure, but voluntarily assume, actively adopt. “His cross”: which is scorned by the world, hated by the flesh, but is the distinguishing mark of a real Christian. “And follow Me”: live as Christ lived— to the glory of God.
The immediate context is most solemn and striking. The Lord Jesus has just announced to His apostles, for the first time, His approaching death of humiliation (v. 21). Peter was staggered, and said, “Pity Thyself, Lord” (v. 22 mar.). That expressed the policy of the carnal mind. The way of the world is self-seeking and self-shielding. “Spare thyself” is the sum of its philosophy. But the doctrine of Christ is not “save thyself” but sacrifice thyself. Christ discerned in Peter’s counsel a temptation from Satan (v. 23), and at once flung it from Him. Then turning to Peter, He said: Not only “must” Jesus go up to Jerusalem and die, but everyone who would be a follower of His must take up his cross (v. 24). The “must” is as imperative in the one case as in the other. Mediatorially the cross of Christ stands alone, but experimentally it is shared by all who enter into life.
What is a “Christian”? One who holds membership in some earthly church? No. One who believes an orthodox creed? No. One who adopts a certain mode of conduct? No. What, then, is a Christian? He is one who has renounced self and received Christ Jesus as Lord (Col. 2:6). He is one who takes Christ’s yoke upon him and learns of Him who is “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He is one who has been “called unto the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9): fellowship in His obedience and suffering now, in His reward and glory in the endless future. There is no such thing as belonging to Christ and living to please self. Make no mistake on that point “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple,” (Luke 14:27) said Christ. And again He declared, “But whosoever shall [instead of denying himself] deny Me before men [not “unto” men: it is conduct, the walk which is here in view], him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).
The Christian life begins with an act of self-renunciation, and is continued by self-mortification (Rom. 8:13). The first question of Saul of Tarsus, when Christ apprehended him, was, “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do?” The Christian life is likened unto a “race,” and the racer is called upon to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset” (Heb. 12:2), which “sin” is in the love of self, the desire and determination to have our “own way” (Isa. 53:6). The one great aim, end, task, set before the Christian is to follow Christ -to follow the example He has left us (1 Pet. 2:21), and He “pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3). And there are difficulties in the way, obstacles in the path, the chief of which is self. Therefore this must be “denied.” This is the first step toward “following” Christ.
What does it mean for a man to utterly “deny himself”? First, it signifies the complete repudiation of his own goodness. It means ceasing to rest upon any works of our own to commend us to God. It means an unreserved acceptance of God’s verdict that “all our righteousnesses [our best performances] are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). It was at this point that Israel failed: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). But contrast the declaration of Paul: “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness” (Phil. 3:9).
For a man to utterly “deny himself” is to completely renounce his own wisdom. None can enter the kingdom of heaven except they become “as little children” (Matthew 18:3). “Woe unto them that are wiser in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight” (Isa. 5:21). “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21). When the Holy Spirit applies the Gospel in power to a soul, it is to the “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). A wise motto for each Christian to adopt is “Lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).
For a man to utterly “deny himself” is to completely renounce his own strength. It is to have “no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). It is the heart bowing to Christ’s positive declaration “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). It was at this point Peter failed: (Matthew 26:33). “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). How necessary it is, then, that we heed 1 Corinthians 10:12: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”! The secret of spiritual strength lies in realizing our personal weakness: (see Isa. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9). Then let us “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1).
For a man to utterly “deny himself” is to completely renounce his own will. The language of the unsaved is, “We will not have this Man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). The attitude of the Christian is, “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)—to honour, please, serve Him. To renounce our own wills means heeding the exhortation of Phil. 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” which is defined in the verses that immediately follow as that of self-abnegation. It is the practical recognition that “ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19,20). It is saying with Christ, “Nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).
For a man to utterly “deny himself” is to completely renounce his own lusts or fleshly desires. “A man’s self is a bundle of idols” (Thomas Manton, Puritan), and those idols must be repudiated. Non-Christians are “lovers of their own selves” (2 Tim. 3:1); but the one who has been regenerated by the Spirit says with Job, “I am vile” (40:4), “I abhor myself” (47:6). Of non-Christians it is written, “all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil. 2:21); but of God’s saints it is recorded, “they loved not their own lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11). The grace of God is “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).
This denial of self which Christ requires from all His followers is to be universal. There is to be no reserve, no exceptions made: “Make not provision for the flesh, to the lusts” (Rom. 13:14). It is to be constant, not occasional: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). It is to be spontaneous, not forced, performed gladly, not reluctantly: “And whatsoever ye do, do heartily, as to the Lord” (Col 3:23). O how wickedly has the standard which God sets before us been lowered! How it condemns the easy-going, flesh-pleasing, worldly lives of so many who profess (but vainly), that they are “Christians”!
“And take up his cross.” This refers to the cross not as an object of faith, but as an experience in the soul. The legal benefits of Calvary are received through believing, when the guilt of sin is cancelled, but the experimental virtues of Christ’s Cross are only enjoyed as we are, in a practical way, “made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10). It is only as we really apply the cross to our daily lives, regulate our conduct by its principles, that it becomes efficacious over the power of indwelling sin. There can be no resurrection where there is no death, and there can be no practical walking “in newness of life” until we “bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10). The “cross” is the badge, the evidence, of Christian discipleship. It is his “cross” and not his creed, which distinguishes a true follower of Christ from religious worldlings.
Now in the New Testament the “cross” stands for definite realities. First, it expresses the world’s hatred. The Son of God came here not to judge, but to save; not to punish but to redeem. He came here “full of grace and truth.” He was ever at the disposal of others: ministering to the needy, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, delivering the demon-possessed, raising the dead. He was full of compassion: gentle as a lamb; entirely sinless. He brought with Him glad tidings of great joy. He sought the outcast, preached to the poor, yet scorned not the rich; He pardoned sinners. And how was He received? What welcome did men accord Him? They “despised and rejected” Him (Isa. 53:3). He declared, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25). They thirsted for His blood. No ordinary death would appease them. They demanded that He should be crucified. The Cross, then, was the manifestation of the world’s inveterate hatred of the Christ of God.
The world has not altered, any more than the Ethiopian has changed his skin or the leopard his spots. The world and Christ are still in open antagonism. Hence it is written, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4). It is impossible to walk with Christ and commune with Him until we have separated from the world. To walk with Christ necessarily involves sharing his humiliation: “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Heb. 13:13). This is what Moses did: (see Heb. 11:24-26). The closer I am walking with Christ, the more shall I be misunderstood (1 John 3:2), ridiculed (Job 12:4) and detested by the world (John 15:19). Make no mistake here it is utterly impossible to keep in with the world and have fellowship with the Holy Christ. Thus, to “take up” my “cross” means, that I deliberately court the enmity of the world through my refusing to be “conformed” to it (Rom. 12:2). But what matters the world’s frowns if I am enjoying the Saviour’s smiles!
Taking up my “cross” means a life voluntarily surrendered to God. As the act of wicked men, the death of Christ was a murder; but as the act of Christ Himself, it was a voluntary sacrifice, offering Himself to God. It was also an act of obedience to God. In John 10:18 He said, “No man taketh it [His life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” And why did He? His very next words tell us: “This commandment have I received of My Father.” The cross was the supreme demonstration of Christ’s obedience. Herein He was our Exemplar. Once again we quote Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” In what follows we see the Beloved of the Father taking upon Him the form of a Servant, and becoming “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now the obedience of Christ must be the obedience of the Christian—voluntary, gladsome, unreserved, continuous. If that obedience involves shame and suffering, reproach and loss, we must not flinch, but set our face “like a flint” (Isa. 50:7). The cross is more than the object of the Christian’s faith, it is the badge of discipleship, the principle by which his life is to be regulated. The “cross” stands for surrender and dedication to God: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).
The “cross” stands for vicarious service and suffering. Christ laid down His life for others, and His followers are called on to be willing to do the same: “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16): that is the inevitable logic of Calvary. We are called to follow Christ’s example, to the fellowship of His sufferings, to be partners in His service. As Christ made himself “of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7) we must not. As He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28), so must we. As He “pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3), no more must we. As He ever thought of others, so must we: “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body” (Heb. 13:3).
“For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Words almost identical with these are found again in Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24; 17:33, John 12:25. Surely, such repetition argues the deep importance of our noting and heeding this saying of Christ’s. He died that we might live (John 12:24), so must we (John 12:25). Like Paul we must be able to say, “Neither count I my life dear unto myself” (Acts 20:24). The “life” that is lived for the gratification of self in this world, is “lost” for eternity; the life that is sacrificed to self-interests and yielded to Christ, will be “found” again, and preserved through eternity.
A young university graduate, with brilliant prospects, responded to the call of Christ to a life of service for Him in India among the lowest caste of the natives. His friends exclaimed, What a tragedy! A life thrown away! Yes, “lost” so far as this world is concerned, but “found” again in the world to come!        

Saturday, May 25, 2013

When the Wicked Seize a City

I am in the process of reading this book  {when the wicked seize a city}  by an Orthodox Presbyterian Pastor from San Francisco, Chuck McILhenny. In it, he lays out what true homosexuality looks like, it's anything but a 'normal, loving, committed relationship'. He does so to show the depraved way of life of the homosexual and to discredit their deluded 'loving relationship' type of garbage they are pushing down the throats of Americans. This lifestyle is so wicked, so depraved, and not at all normal. Even though I used to live this life, I was shocked by what Chuck writes, what he saw at a 'gay parade'. The media will not show you this, they will not tell you. They don't want you to know how utterly demonic this sexual perversion is, you need to know so you aren't fooled into thinking this is just an 'alternative lifestyle'. You need to understand this is not a 'same sex attraction' that they cannot help. This is depravity at its finest. This is what America will come to if we stick our heads in the sand, if we do not rightly understand what homosexuality truly is. This could be what your town will look like in the not too distant future. There is a dire need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed, even if it leads to be it.

*I MUST WARN YOU, this is very graphic. Please, do not be deterred by this warning; you need to know the depth of depravity of this sin. Proceed with caution...

Trial by Fire! 

It was late, cold, and windy that evening of June 1, 1983.1 had spent the evening at a meeting of the Crisis Pregnancy Center just forming in our area. Donna had been working and was late in getting to bed. I was dosing, half asleep, when Donna came into the room. As she got into bed, I turned off the lamp on the bedstand. What was that noise? It was a crackling sound. Could an electrical wire have shorted-out in the newly built roof over the alleyway between the church and house? I listened ... the trash cans were banging together in the wind . . . was that the trash cans? Not to worry .... All of a sudden, flames roared through the quarter-inch glass of our second story bedroom window, licking up the curtains as it spread. So quickly it spread! So fast and furious! No time to put my clothes on, nor to reach for my glasses. I remembered that my father had trained us as kids that if there ever was a fire in the house, don’t stop to pick anything up—just get out as fast as you can. In the terror of the moment, our first thought was for the children in their rooms. It seemed such a long way down that hall to grab the kids from their beds. I dashed into the girls’ room first and grabbed them, shouting orders at the same time: “Stay together in the hall—stay in the hall!” Both girls screamed and sobbed as I ran for Ryan’s bunk bed in the far bedroom. I grabbed him from the upper bunk, twisting his little body into mine, and grasping the girls, together we made for the door. Donna had gone to the kitchen near the fire area to call 9-1-1. I yelled at her to get out immediately. I opened the heavy front door of the closed-in porch into the cold early morning wind. The flames were spreading around the corner of the building from the bedroom side of the house into the ground floor of the church. All of us, in nothing but underwear, made for the car parked in front of the house. I literally threw the kids into the car. Donna had emerged from the house but on impulse had gone back in. “The children are cold—get blankets!” She did an “army crawl” into Ryan’s room, ripped a couple of blankets from his bed, crawled back out the front door, headed straight for the car, and wrapped the children in the blankets. Within minutes the fire engines came with sirens wailing and full regalia making for the house and church—fire hoses blasting and wielding axes on the church doors. It had not been trash cans banging together in the wind that we heard that night, but the sound of two gasoline cans clapping together as someone deliberately set fire to the house and church. They had finally done it. For years they had threatened to burn down the church and try to kill us—here it was! What more could they do? I was both terrified and delighted that they had done their worst to get rid of us and failed! How did we get to this point in our ministry? How could a thing like this ever happen to a family in the United States? It seemed like a scenario from an occupied overseas country, but not America. You just don’t do things like this in good ol’ “God Bless America” land. How could a little church of less than fifty people be enough of a threat to anyone to want us out of the way, or at least out of the city? The answer, to some extent, lay with the reputation San Francisco had become notorious for: homosexuality! In the 1960s, the hippies brought “free-love” and drugs to our city. Now in the 1980s, we were reaping the inexorable consequences of this “free-love” and promiscuity: A city dominated by legislated immorality. From the top down, the city was made to sin before heaven.

The Gay Parade . . 

their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves” (Isa. 3: 8-9, NIV).
Have you ever attended a gay pride parade? Like most Americans, you probably haven’t taken the time to see for yourself what homosexuals do at these parades. If your city does have a gay pride parade, it’s unlikely that your local television or radio stations or your local newspapers accurately describe what takes place at one of these events. Television stations certainly couldn’t show what occurs and newspapers could get into trouble with subscribers for detailing gay sexual perversions that take place publicly.
 Tragically, because of a media mesmerized by the gay agenda, most people are ignorant about homosexual activities, because very few media outlets accurately portray how gays act in public and private. The person who does describe homosexual behavior sounds as if he’s writing a pornographic novel. It is this widespread ignorance of homosexual behavior that causes many to uncritically accept the idea that we should tolerantly, and even lovingly, embrace homosexual behavior as if it were just another lifestyle.
In the next few paragraphs, we’re going to take the time to describe for you—as tactfully as possible—what occurs at the largest gay celebration in the world—the Gay Freedom Day Parade. The parade is held in San Francisco during Gay Pride week  with over two hundred thousand watchers lining the parade route. This is by no means an exhaustive look at what occurs, because the parade lasts for several hours! By the way, all San Francisco parades begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning—traditional worship time for the church. We’re doing this to make you aware of what has happened to San Francisco and as a warning that this is what can happen to your community if you fail to understand the gay propaganda agenda for homosexualizing the country.
 The Gay Freedom Day Parade is an annual event in San Francisco and in many other major cities around the U.S. It is held to celebrate the Stonewall riots, when patrons of a gay bar in New York City fought with police in June of 1969. (We’ll detail more of what happened at Stonewall in the next chapter.)

Gay Pride—Gay Depravity 

The parade begins with an army of lesbians riding motorcycles, proudly calling themselves Dykes On Bykes, in varying degrees of dress and undress. Picture a colorful float slowly moving down main street. The float is filled with men and women gyrating to raucous music. The lesbians are smeared with paint and are topless. A gay man is dancing wildly to the music and shoving his hand down into his pants. Another man is clothed only in a g-string. The flap which covers his rear end is a miniature American flag.
Walking down the street beside the floats are a number of men dressed in women’s nighties, pantyhose, and bright blue or red wigs. Dancing among the men is a bald-headed woman, naked from the waist up, with square pasties over her breasts. Another man stops to pose for a video camera. He’s wearing a pink evening gown and has curlers in his hair.
Lying on the sidewalk near the curb, a long-haired man in shorts has pulled his pants down and is kicking his legs in the air as though he’s trying to attract attention. Standing in the crowd, two gay lovers fondle one another, unconscious of the peering on-lookers. (Tourists from the “Bible-Belt” either react in horror or join the festivities—giggling—admiring the sense of uninhibitedness of San Franciscans!) Back in the parade, an obese lesbian, naked from the waist up,shows off to the crowd. She’s wearing hiking shorts and boots.
Walking through the crowd are two men dressed in black leather and silver-studded jock straps. These are members of the sado-masochistic element in the gay culture. The man trailing behind the first man has a dog collar around his neck. His “master” is holding his “slave” chained to the collar. This is what is called “B&D” for “bondage and dominance,” another sex fantasy in the subculture.
A group known as the Radical Fairies marches proudly down the street, and several of them are carrying a ten-foot long python or boa constrictor. Another group called NAMBLA, North America Man/Boy Love Association, a group of homosexuals that advocates sex with consenting minors, marches as respectably as every other group advocating sexual lawlessness.
Not long after they pass, a man strolls by with a sign which says, “God Is Gay.” He is quickly followed by half a dozen lesbians from a groupknown as SLUTS (Seminary Lesbians Under Theological Stress). Various gay church groups pass by identifying their affiliations with traditional mainline churches such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, etc.
On the curb, two young men in their twenties lay down in the street and simulate oral copulation with each other. The crowd cheers enthusiastically. Such freedom!
Amazingly enough, in this parade various political candidates for office, state and local, follow these expressions of bizarre behavior, publicly declaring their tacit approval of what “gayness” means in San Francisco. You ask, “where are the police in all this?” Most definitely their presence is seen. For the first time, the new police chief is a participant in the parade, riding in an open-top car, waving to the crowds, ushered on both sides by his lesbian and gay officers. Indecent exposure laws lapse into outmoded times, far too archaic for the enlightened minds of liberal San Francisco.
Laws governing public morality are simply suspended for the day in deference to the gay community. At the end of the parade route, a recruiting table is set up to enlist homosexuals into the San Francisco police department. The police department has a policy of non-discrimination in the hiring of homosexuals and lesbians, along with racial minorities. All of these events occurred in the light of day on what we Christians call the Lord’s Day—Sunday. Is He watching? Or has   He abandoned San Francisco to its own little temporal world?

 The Truth Needs to Be Told

 We realize what we have described is very offensive, but the Christian community cannot continue to remain ignorant of what immoral behavior “gay rights” brings to a city. What has happened in San Francisco is a grim look into the future of what lies ahead not only for other cities, but for the US health care system, schools, the media and the church herself. Ministering in this city since the 1970’s, we have witnessed and, in our feeble way, opposed the immoral revolution that, in such totality, is unprecedented anywhere else in the United States (although Los Angeles is not far behind). A coup d’├ętat of decadence has occurred in San Francisco. There literally is a new rainbow flag that periodically flies above city hall announcing the new nation—”Queer Nation.” An entire culture has been developed, emanating from the bizarre sex habits of those calling themselves gay and lesbian, and has seized control of the power centers of the city, leaving behind moral and traditional values. Straight society, as the hippies used to call it, is now out of power and without influence—living on the fringes of society.

Power through Intimidation

 One of the most revealing articles ever written about the objectives of the gay rights movement comes from Guide, a homosexual magazine. The article, “The Overhauling of Straight America” (November 1987), goes into considerable detail about how gays will conquer straight America through a combination of propaganda and vilification. The authors, Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill, outline several strategies designed to weaken family-oriented America. Among them are:
1.   Desensitization. “To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion.” The authors say it’s imperative that gays talk about their gayness as much as possible on television and radio until people become indifferent to homosexuality. Straights will eventually be desensitized to the point that homosexuality will be viewed as just any other lifestyle. The use of the term “lifestyle” itself lulls the moral sensibilities to include them along side other normal lifestyles.
2.   Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. “In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex toassume the role of protector.”
 3.   Give the protectors a just cause. “Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but should instead make anti-discrimination as its theme.” {let me add something - Isn't the latest battle cry of civil rights exactly what this refers to?}
4.   Make the victimizers look bad. “To be blunt—they must be vilified. . . . The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits disgust middle America. These images might include the Ku Klux Klan demanding that gays be burned alive or castrated. . . .” The article goes on to describe a media campaign to promote homosexuality and to defeat the straight world. Marshall Kirk has since expanded this article into a book, “After the Ball,” which is a tactical manual on how to seize power.

We can see how these 'tactics' have been successful, I underlined portions of these steps because they are exactly what we are presently seeing.  We must keep the proper mindset in all this; there are souls at stake. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that will make a difference. Homosexuals must be told of their sins against God, and of the atoning work Christ has made for sin. Keep this in mind, as McIIhenny states in his book, 'One of the primary goals of the gay rights movement is the silencing of the Church and any other opposition it may have.' 
In Jesus' day, they wanted to kill Him, and they did. John the Baptist was beheaded for exposing sin...we cannot expect anything less. We must not live in fear or be intimidated, we dare not stick our heads in the sand and act like it will all go away. I had a sister in Christ 'scold' me for posting so much on homosexuality, I immediately thought of what our Lord said to Peter, 'get thee behind me Satan'. She is hindering the Lord's work by trying to dictate and silence me in standing against this sin, but I am not intimidated by her. We must stand firm and proclaim the Gospel, for the sake of the souls of men.

Where are the voices?!?

This is a 'follow up' type of post to a previous post concerning child sexual abuse at SGM. It is so disturbing to think a child could be sexually abused and only a few cry out against this sin...amazing. The cover-up is astounding!  The support for Mahaney by 'big names' in the Evangelical community like Al Mohler is equally amazing. It may be time to separate from those who defend sin, steering clear of their teachings and their blogs. I have no problem doing just that.

This past week, I have fluctuated between anger and tears as I read about Christian leaders who proclaim the Gospel with their voice, but remain silent and/or defensive about the horrors of child sexual abuse within the Church.  These leaders have once again, and perhaps unwittingly, demonstrated the art of marginalizing individual souls for the sake of reputation and friendships.
Earlier this week, I read the second amended complaint filed by eleven plaintiffs against SGM, two churches, and a number of individuals, including a man named CJ Mahaney.  I won’t go into the factual details of this complaint here (if interested, you can read it here), but it is one of the most disturbing accounts of child sexual abuse and institutional “cover up” I have read in my almost 20 years of addressing this issue.  Besides the horrific accounts of child victimization (some of which allegedly occurred on church property), what struck me most about these allegations is the systematic efforts by these churches to discourage and sometimes prevent the families of children who had been victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement.  Another aspect that struck me as I read (and re-read) through this complaint were the myriad of common threads related to the efforts made by these SGM churches to silence these survivors.  As a former prosecutor, much credibility is given to disclosures made by more than one person that have distinct and unique similarities…these did.
continue reading here...

Also, please read what is posted here...

Forsake me not, O Lord

“Forsake me not, O Lord.”
- Psa_38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer to-day, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. ‘Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood, do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. ‘Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ ‘Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!’“

“O ever in our cleansed breast,
Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;
And make our secret soul to be
A temple pure and worthy thee.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, May 24, 2013

Degrading Passions

I found this sermon at Sermonaudio, it's by David Dykstra, the pastor of Grace Covenant Baptist Church in Willis, Texas. He handles the sin of homosexuality biblically, and does not compromise God's truth, he speaks truth, in love; this is a very much needed message for our day. Most of us know someone who is caught up in this sin, the numbers are growing daily. He gives facts about this lifestyle, stating that it is one of misery. As a former lesbian, I can tell you this is absolutely true, even though they deny this. They want to push their agenda down America's throats, so they pass their perversion off as normal, as a loving relationship. Do NOT ever believe that lie. This sermon gives many statistics that prove how destructive this lifestyle is...

Here is a sample ----

You will note then that the title of this morning’s sermon as you find it in the bulletin is simply “Degrading Passions.” It is taken from verse 26 where Paul begins to deal with an issue that was a problem in his day and an issue which is a problem in our day and one that I have to address if I’m going to address Romans 1 in clarity and in thoroughness.
And it’s a subject that I would choose even not to address. Paul deals with the whole
issue of homosexuality.Many of you received a letter from me this week written not from a pastoral perspective but written simply as a concerned citizen of the Fifth Congressional District of this state.
And in that letter I tried to explain that liberalism in America is a monolithic
undifferentiated system of belief and action. That is, it matters not if you’re speaking to a liberal minister or a liberal professor or a liberal politician, they are part of a monolithic undifferentiated system. And whether it’s a liberal minister or a liberal politician or a liberal educator, all of them alike are endeavoring to force the political agenda of homosexuals on society. Therefore, we cannot skip over a subject that Paul deals with merely because we find it to be unpleasant to think about or to discuss. Instead, we ought to bring truth into the discussion to refute the lies that are constantly advanced by liberalism. And it is truth, precisely truth, that liberals do not want you to learn.
In fact, and I’m quoting now from McIlhenny’s book, “When the Wicked Seize a City.” It is written by a Chuck McIlhenny who is an Orthodox Presbyterian Pastor in San Francisco. And if there is one book that you ought to have and read on this whole very difficult subject, it is this book. I hope that it’s still in print. I hope that you get it and that you read it, that you might understand the issues that we’re speaking of today. Quoting from page 98, he is quoting here about just the strategy of the left and the strategy of particularly, of the whole homosexual community and what they don’t want you to know.
And a couple of their authors say this, Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill encourage gay
activists to discuss gay rights as often as possible but discourage any discussion of gay behavior. And according to theses authors and quoting them now, “In the early stages of any campaign to reach straight America, the masses should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior. Instead, the imagery of sex should be downplayed and gay rights should be reduced to an abstract social question as much as possible. First, let the camel get his nose into the tent and only later his unsightly derriere.” That’s their agenda.
They say in their own words, “Don’t talk about our behavior, don’t let America know
what we do, just have the discussion be a discussion of rights. Let’s keep truth
suppressed. Let’s not have the light of truth shine on us or on our agenda or on our
behavior or on our practices.” Because they know that if the light of truth were to shine on their behavior and their practices as far as we have fallen in America there would still be wholesale revulsion that would set them back.
You will never find video of the so-called gay rights parade on the evening news. You
won’t find extensive video on it at all because they can’t show it. They can’t show what goes on in any of those parades without loosing their license by the FCC. You can’t find newspaper reporters reporting graphically what takes place in any gay rights parade in any city of America today. You can’t find them writing specifically about what takes place at every one of those parades without violating their own standards against what can and cannot be printed.
I’m committed to handle this subject but to handle it in a biblical way, to handle it with biblical restraint. I refer to the way in which the Bible addresses the problem and that is, the scriptures deal with the issue without describing the behavior. The scriptures deal discreetly with the issue. In fact, in Ephesians chapter 5 and verses 11 and 12 this is part of Christian law, “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness but instead even expose them for it is disgraceful to even speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”

Continue reading here....

Or you can listen by going here...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sleepy Saints

What an anomaly! Drowsing on the verge of eternity! A Christian is one who, in contrast to the unregenerate, has been awakened from the sleep of death in trespasses and sins, made to realize the unspeakable awfulness of endless misery in hell and the ineffable joy of everlasting bliss in heaven, and thereby brought to recognize the seriousness and solemnity of life. A Christian is one who has been taught experientially the worthlessness of all mundane things and the preciousness of Divine things. He has turned his back on Vanity Fair and has started out on his journey to the Celestial City. He has been quickened into newness of life and supplied with the most powerful incentives to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, it is sadly possible for him to suffer a relapse, for his zeal to abate, his graces to languish, for him to leave his first love, and become weary of well-doing. Yea, unless he be very much on his guard, drowsiness will steal over him, and he will fall asleep. Corruptions still indwell in him, and sin has a stupefying effect. He is yet in this evil world, and it exerts an enervating influence. Satan seeks to devour him, and unless resisted steadfastly will hypnotize him. Thus, the menace of this spiritual "sleeping sickness" is very real.
Slumbering saints! What an incongruity! Taking their ease while threatened by danger. Lazing instead of fighting the good fight of faith. Trifling away opportunities to glorify their Saviour, instead of redeeming the time: rusting, instead of wearing Out in His service. We speak with wonderment and horror of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, but far more startling and reprehensible is a careless Christian who has departed from God, bewitched by a world which is doomed to eternal destruction. Such a travesty and tragedy is far from being exceptional. Both observation and the teaching of Scripture prove it to be a common occurrence. Such passages as the following make it only too evident that the people of God are thus overcome. "It is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. 13:11). "Awake to righteousness, and sin not" (1 Cor. 15:34). "Awake thou that sleepest" (Eph. 5:14). Each of those clamant calls is made to the saints. So, too, is that exhortation addressed to them, "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we arc not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:5,6).

continue reading here...

Friday, May 17, 2013

A proper response to the SGM lawsuit

Normally, I do not post issues {this term is too light a word for what's happened} that would be more suitable for a discernment blog, I do not consider my blog to be such. However, the noticeable silence concerning the horrendous  scandalous accusations against C. J. Mahaney's Sovereign Grace Ministries must not continue. Matt Redmond has written a response that I think is 'spot on'. Far too many have remained silent and continue to embrace Mahaney and his ministry as though all is's not. The fact that these allegations were not handled biblically in the first place and had to be brought out in plain sight through the courts is very telling, much like the scandalous Roman Catholic Church and all it's sexual sins. Where are the men who will stand up and speak out biblically concerning this horrendous sexual scandal? Why aren't men like Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Piper, Dever, and others distancing themselves from Mahaney and demanding he repent? Celebrity pastors seem to be above reproach, all the while the name of Christ is tarnished horrifically by multiple allegations of sexual abuse involving very young children within the confines of the flagship churches of SGM, under the headship of Mahaney. This is inexcusable.

Here is Matt Redmond's response on how to react to the allegations being brought against SGM....I also encourage you to read Matt's post - 'The silence of the Reformed' link below.

I want to try and answer a few objections I’ve gotten about the SGM sexual abuse lawsuit
The question I get the most in response to my post, “The Silence of the Reformed” is –
“What do you want the Reformed leadership to do?”
Two things.
Say something and discontinue the invites. {to which I add a huge 'AMEN'!}
Say something. What I keep hearing is we should wait till the verdict comes in to hear both sides because SGM has totally denied the accusations. Therefore no blog posts and no articles till then. Before the trial of Sandusky, an article “Love Notices Wet Hair” was published on The Gospel Coalition site and distributed widely. That article was posted 7 months before he was found guilty. Either we need an admission of how wrong that was, or we need a similar stance. Really all they would need to do is write a blog post that said, “in light of the accusations against SGM we offer this post.” That would be a start. 
continue reading Matt's response here...

You can also find more information and links at Sola Sisters

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Forgiveness and sin

This is from A. W. Pink's book 'the seven sayings of the Savior on the Cross'...

"Cleanse thou me from secret faults" (Ps. 19:12).

Sin is always sin in the sight of God whether we are conscious of it or not. Sins of ignorance need atonement just as truly as do conscious sins. God is holy, and he will not lower his standard of righteousness to the level of our ignorance. Ignorance is not innocence. As a matter of fact, ignorance is more culpable now than it was in the days of Moses. We have no excuse for our ignorance. God has clearly and fully revealed his will. The Bible is in our hands, and we cannot plead ignorance of its contents except to condemn our laziness. God has spoken and by his word we shall be judged.
And yet the fact remains that we are ignorant of many things, and the fault and blame are ours. And this does not minimize the enormity of our guilt. Sins of ignorance need the divine forgiveness as our Lord’s prayer here plainly shows. Learn then how high is God’s standard, how great is our need, and praise him for an atonement of infinite sufficiency, which cleanseth from all sin.

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

4. Here we see the blindness of the human heart.
"They know not what they do." This does not mean that the enemies of Christ were ignorant of the fact of his crucifixion. They did know full well that they had cried out "Crucify him". They did know full well that their vile request had been granted them by Pilate. They did know full well that he had been nailed to the tree for they were eye-witnesses of the crime. What then did our Lord mean when he said, "They know not what they do"? He meant they were ignorant of the enormity of their crime. They "knew not" that it was the Lord of glory they were crucifying. The emphasis is not on "They know not" but on "they know not what they do".
And yet they ought to have known. Their blindness was inexcusable. The Old Testament prophecies which had received their fulfillment in him were sufficiently plain to identify him as the Holy One of God. His teaching was unique, for his very critics were forced to admit "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46). And what of his perfect life! He had lived before men a life which had never been lived on earth before. He pleased not himself. He went about doing good. He was ever at the disposal of others. There was no self-seeking about him. His was a life of self-sacrifice from beginning to end. His was a life ever lived to the glory of God. His was a life on which was stamped heaven’s approval, for the Father’s voice testified audibly, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am wellpleased" . No, there was no excuse for their ignorance. It only demonstrated the blindness of their hearts. Their rejection of the Son of God bore full witness, once for all, that the carnal mind is "enmity against God".
How sad to think this terrible tragedy is still being repeated! Sinner, you little know what you are doing in neglecting God’s great salvation. You little know how awful is the sin of slighting the Christ of God and spurning the invitations of his mercy. You little know the deep guilt which is attached to your act of refusing to receive the only one who can save you from your sins. You little know how fearful is the crime of saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us". You know not what you do. You regard the vital issue with callous indifference. The question comes today as it did of old, "What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?" For you have to do something with him: either you despise and reject him, or you receive him as the Saviour of your soul and the Lord of your life. But, I say again, it seems to you a matter of small moment, of little importance, which you do. For years you have resisted the strivings of his Spirit. For years you have shelved the all-important consideration. For years you have steeled your heart against him, closed your ears to his appeals, and shut your eyes to his surpassing beauty. Ah! you know not WHAT you do. You are blind to your madness. Blind to your terrible sin. Yet are yov not excuseless? You may be saved now if you will. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." 0 come to the Saviour now and say with one of old, "Lord, that I might receive my sight."

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

5. Here we see a lovely exemplification of his own teaching.
In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord taught his disciples, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Above all others Christ practiced what he preached. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. He not only taught the truth but was himself the truth incarnate. Said he, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). So here on the cross he perfectly exemplified his teaching of the mount. In all things he has left us an example.
Notice Christ did not personally forgive his enemies. So in Matthew 5:44 he did not exhort his disciples to forgive their enemies, but he does exhort them to "pray" for them. But are we not to forgive those who wrong us? This leads us to a point concerning which there is much need for instruction today.
Does scripture teach that under all circumstances we must always forgive? I answer emphatically, it does not. The word of God says, "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying, 1 repeat, thou shalt forgive him" (Luke 17:3,4). Here we are plainly taught that a condition must be met by the offender before we may pronounce forgiveness. The one who has wronged us must first "repent", that is, judge himself for his wrong and give evidence of his sorrow over it. But suppose the offender does not repent? Then 1 am not to forgive him.
But let there be no misunderstanding of our meaning here. Even though the one who has wronged me does not repent, nevertheless, I must not harbor ill-feelings against him. There must be no hatred or malice cherished in the heart. Yet, on the other hand, I must not treat the offender as if he had done no wrong. That would be to condone the offence, and therefore I should fail to uphold the requirements of righteousness, and this the believer is ever to do. Does God ever forgive where there is no repentance? No, for scripture declares, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). One thing more. If one has injured me and repented not, while I cannot forgive him and treat him as though he had not offended, nevertheless, not only must! hold no malice in my heart against him, but I must also pray for him. Here is the value of Christ’s perfect example. If we cannot forgive, we can pray for God to forgive him.

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

6. Here we see man’s great and primary need.
The first important lesson which all need to learn is that we are sinners, and as such, unfit for the presence of a Holy God. It is in vain that we select noble ideals, form good resolutions, and adopt excellent rules to live by, until the sin-question has been settled. It is of no avail that we attempt to develop a beautiful character and aim to do that which will meet with God’s approval while there is sin between him and our souls. Of what use are shoes if our feet are paralyzed. Of what use are glasses if we are blind. The question of the forgiveness of my sins is basic, fundamental, vital. It matters not that I am highly respected by a wide circle of friends if! am yet in my sins. It matters not that I have made good in business if I am an unpardoned transgressor in the sight of God. What will matter most in the hour of death is, Have my sins been put away by the Blood of Christ?
The second all-important lesson which all need to learn is how forgiveness of sins may be obtained. What is the ground on which a Holy God will forgive sins? And here it is important to remark that there is a vital difference between divine forgiveness and much of human forgiveness. As a general rule human forgiveness is a matter of leniency, often of laxity. We mean forgiveness is shown at the expense of justice and righteousness. In a human court of law, the judge has to choose between two alternatives: when the one in the dock has been proven guilty, the judge must either enforce the penalty of the law, or he must disregard the requirements of the law - the one is justice, the other is mercy. The only possible way by which the judge can both enforce the requirements of the law and yet show mercy to its offender, is by a third party offering to suffer in his own person the penalty which the convicted one deserves. Thus it was in the divine counsels. God would not exercise mercy at the expense of justice. God, as the judge of all the earth, would not set aside the demands of his holy law. Yet, God would show mercy. How? Through one making full satisfaction to his outraged law. Through his own Son taking the place of all those who believe on him and bearing their sins in his own body on the tree. God could be just and yet merciful, merciful and yet just. Thus it is that "grace reigns through righteousness".
A righteous ground has been provided on which God can be just and yet the justifier of all who believe. Hence it is we are told:
Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission (forgiveness) of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46,47).
And again:
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38, 39).
It was in view of the blood he was shedding that the Saviour cried, "Father, forgive them". It was in view of the atoning sacrifice he was offering, that it can be said "without shedding of blood is no remission".
In praying for the forgiven ess of his enemies Christ struck right down to the root of their need. And their need was the need of every child of Adam. Reader, have your sins been forgiven? that is, remitted or sent away. Are you, by grace, one of those of whom it is said, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14)"?

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

7. Here we see the triumph of redeeming love.
Mark closely the word with which our text opens: "Then". The verse which immediately precedes it reads thus, "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left". Then, said Jesus, Father, forgive them. "Then" - when man had done his worst. "Then" - when the vileness of the human heart was displayed in climacteric devilry. "Then" - when with wicked hands the creature had dared to crucify the Lord of glory. He might have uttered awful maledictions over them. He might have let loose the thunderbolts of righteous wrath and slain them. He might have caused the earth to open her mouth so that they had gone down alive into the pit. But no. Though subjected to unspeakable shame, though suffering excruciating pain, though despised, rejected, hated; nevertheless, he cries, "Father, forgive them". That was the triumph of redeeming love. "Love suffereth long, and is kind . . . beareth all things . . . endureth all things" (1 Cor. 13). Thus it was shown at the cross.
When Samson came to his dying hour he used his great strength of body to encompass the destruction of his foes; but the perfect one, exhibited the strength of his love by praying for the forgiveness of his enemies. Matchless grace! "Matchless," we say, for even Stephen failed to fully follow out the blessed example set by the Saviour. If the reader will turn to Acts 7 he will find that Stephen’s first thought was of himself, and then he prayed for his enemies - "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts 7:59,60). But with Christ the order was reversed: he prayed first for his foes, and last for himself. In all things he has the pre-eminence.
And now one concluding word of application and exhortation. Should this chapter have been read by an unsaved person we would earnestly ask him to weigh well the next sentence - How dreadful must it be to oppose Christ and his truth knowingly! Those who crucified the Saviour "knew not what they did". But, my reader, there is a very real and solemn sense in which this is not true of you. You know you ought to receive Christ as your Saviour, that you ought to crown him the Lord of your life, that you ought to make it your first and last concern to please and glorify him. Be warned then; your danger is great. If you deliberately turn from him, you turn from the only one who can save you from your sins, and it is written, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. 10:26, 27).
It only remains for us to add a word on the blessed completeness of divine forgiveness. Many of God’s people are unsettled and troubled upon this point. They understand how that all the sins they had committed before they received Christ as their Saviour have been forgiven, but oftentimes they are not clear concerning the sins which they commit after they have been born again. Many suppose it is possible for them to sin away the pardon which God had bestowed upon them. They suppose that the blood of Christ dealt with their past only, and that so far as the present and the future are concerned, they have to take care of that themselves. But of what value would be a pardon which might be taken away from me at any time? Surely there can be no settled peace when my acceptance with God and my going to heaven is made to depend upon my holding on to Christ, or my obedience and faithfulness.
Blessed be God, the forgiveness which he bestows covers all sins - past, present and future. Fellow-believer, did not Christ bear your "sins" in his own body on the tree? And were not all your sins future sins when he died? Surely, for at that time you had not been born, and so had not committed a single sin. Very well then: Christ bore your "future" sins as truly as your past ones. What the word of God teaches is that the unbelieving soul is brought out of the place of unforgiveness into the place to which forgiveness attaches. Christians are a forgiven people. Says the Holy Spirit: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8). The believer is in Christ, and there sin will never again be imputed to us. This is our place or position before God. In Christ is where he beholds us. And because I am in Christ I am completely and eternally forgiven, so much so that never again will sin be laid to my charge as touching my salvation, even though I were to remain on earth a hundred years. I am out of that place for evermore. Listen to the testimony of scripture: "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he (God) quickened together with him (Christ), having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:13). Mark the two things which are here united (and what God hath joined together let no man put asunder) - my union with a risen Christ is connected with my forgiveness! If then my life is "hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3), then I am forever out of the place where imputation of sin applies. Hence it is written, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) - how could there be if "all trespasses" have been forgiven? None can lay anything to the charge of God’s elect (Romans 8:33). Christian reader, join the writer in praising God because we are eternally forgiven everything.*
*It should be added by way of explanation, that it is the judicial aspect we have dealt with. Restorative forgiveness - which is the bringing back again into communion of a sinning believer -dealt with in 1 John 1:9 - is another matter altogether.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Have you truly come to Christ?

By the way of introduction let us bring before the reader the following Scriptures:
  1. “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).
  2. “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
  3. “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” (John 6:44).
  4. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me: and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37)
  5. “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26,27).
  6. “To whom coming, as unto a living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious” (1 Peter 2:4).
  7. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). 
The first of these passages applies to every unregenerate man and woman on this earth. While he is in a state of nature, no man can come to Christ.  Though all excellencies both Divine and human, are found in the Lord Jesus, though “He is altogether lovely” (Song 5:16), yet the fallen sons of Adam see in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. They may be well instructed in “the doctrine of Christ,” they may believe unhesitatingly all that Scripture affirms concerning Him, they may frequently take His name upon their lips, profess to be resting on His finished work, sing His praises, yet their hearts are far from Him. The things of this world have the first place in their affections. The gratifying of self is their dominant concern. They surrender not their lives to Him. He is too holy to suit their love of sin; His claims are too exacting to suit their selfish hearts; His terms of discipleship are too severe to suit their fleshly ways. They will not yield to His Lordship - true alike with each one of us till God performs a miracle of grace upon our hearts.

The second of these passages contains a gracious invitation, made by the compassionate Savior to a particular class of sinners. The “all” is at once qualified, clearly and definitely, by the words which immediately follow it.  The character of those to whom this loving word belongs is clearly defined: It is those who “labor” and are “heavy laden.” Most clearly then it applies not to the vast majority of our light-headed, gay-hearted, pleasure-seeking fellows who have no regard for God’s glory and no concern about their eternal welfare. No, the word for such poor creatures is rather, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee to judgment” (Eccl. 11:9).  But to those who have “labored” hard to keep the law and please God, who are “heavy laden” with a felt sense of their utter inability to meet His requirements, and who long to be delivered from the power and pollution of sin, Christ says: “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.”

The third passage quoted above at once tells us that “coming to Christ” is not the easy matter so many imagine it, nor so simple a thing as most preachers represent it to be. Instead of its so being, the incarnate Son of God positively declares that such an act is utterly impossible to a fallen and depraved creature unless and until Divine power is brought to bear upon him. A most pride-humbling, flesh-withering, man-abasing word is this. “Coming to Christ” is a far, far different thing from raising your hand to be prayed for by some Protestant “priest,” coming forward and taking some cheap-jack evangelist’s hand, signing some “decision” card, uniting with some “church,” or any other of the “many inventions” of man (Eccl 7:29). Before any one can or will “come to Christ” the understanding must be supernaturally enlightened, the heart must be supernaturally changed, the stubborn will must be supernaturally broke{How this needs to be pressed upon in our day}.

The fourth passage is also one that is unpalatable to the carnal mind, yet is it a precious portion unto the Spirit-taught children of God. It sets forth the blessed truth of unconditional election, or the discriminating grace of God. It speaks of a favored people whom the Father giveth to His Son. It declares that every one of that blessed company shall come to Christ. Neither the effects of their fall in Adam, the power of indwelling sin, the hatred and untiring efforts of Satan, nor the deceptive delusions of blind preachers, will be able to finally hinder them - when God’s appointed hour arrives, each of His elect is delivered from the power of darkness and is translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. It announces no matter how unworthy and vile he be in himself, no matter how black and long the awful catalogue of his sins, He will by no means despise or fail to welcome him, and under no circumstances will He ever cast him off.

The fifth passage is one that makes known the terms on which alone Christ is willing to receive sinners. Here the uncompromising claims of His holiness are set out. He must be crowned Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all. There must be the complete heart-renunciation of all that stands in competition with Him. He will brook no rival. All that pertains to “the flesh,” whether found in a loved one or in self, has to be hated. The “cross” is the badge of Christian discipleship: not a golden one worn on the body, but the principle of self-denial and self-sacrifice ruling the heart. How evident is it, then, that a mighty, supernatural, Divine work of grace must be wrought in the human heart, if any man will even desire to meet such terms! 

The sixth passage tells us the Christian is to continue as he began. We are to “come to Christ” not once and for all, but frequently, daily. He is the only One who can minister unto our needs, and to Him we must constantly turn for the supply of them. In our felt emptiness, we must draw from His “fullness” (John 1:16). In our weakness, we must turn to him for strength. In our ignorance we must apply to Him for wisdom. In our falls into sin, we must seek afresh His cleansing. All that we need for time and eternity is stored up in Him: refreshment when we are weary (Isa 40:31), healing of body when we are sick (Ex. 15:26), comfort when we are sad (1 Pet 5:7), deliverance when we are tempted (Heb 2:18). If we have wandered away from Him, left our first love, then the remedy is to “repent and do the first works” (Rev 2:5), that is, cast ourselves upon Him anew, come just as we did the first time we came to Him—as unworthy, self-confessed sinners, seeking His mercy and forgiveness. 

The seventh passage assures us of the eternal security of those who do come.  Christ saves “unto the uttermost” or “for ever more” those who come unto God by Him. He is not of one mind today and of another tomorrow. No, He is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (Heb 13:8). “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1), and blessedly does He give proof of this, for “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Inasmuch as His prayers are effectual, for He declares that the Father hears Him “always” (John 11:42), none whose name is indelibly stamped on the heart of our great High Priest can ever perish.  Hallelujah!