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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The creation of man

 Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 
Image result for image of the dust of the ground


A more particular account of the creation of man, Gen_2:7. Man is a little world, consisting of heaven and earth, soul and body. Now here we have an account of the origin of both and the putting of both together: let us seriously consider it, and say, to our Creator's praise, We are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psa_139:14. Elihu, in the patriarchal age, refers to this history when he says (Job_33:6), I also am formed out of the clay, and (Psa_139:4), The breath of the Almighty hath given me life, and (Job_32:8), There is a spirit in man. Observe then,
1. The mean origin, and yet the curious structure, of the body of man. (1.) The matter was despicable. He was made of the dust of the ground, a very unlikely thing to make a man of; but the same infinite power that made the world of nothing made man, its master-piece, of next to nothing. He was made of the dust, the small dust, such as is upon the surface of the earth. Probably, not dry dust, but dust moistened with the mist that went up, Gen_2:6. He was not made of gold-dust, powder of pearl, or diamond dust, but common dust, dust of the ground. Hence he is said to be of the earth, choikos - dusty, 1Co_15:47. And we also are of the earth, for we are his offspring, and of the same mould. So near an affinity is there between the earth and our earthly parents that our mother's womb, out of which we were born, is called the earth (Psa_139:15), and the earth, in which we must be buried, is called our mother's womb, Job_1:21. Our foundation is in the earth, Job_4:19. Our fabric is earthly, and the fashioning of it like that of an earthen vessel, Job_10:9. Our food is out of the earth, Job_28:5. Our familiarity is with the earth, Job_17:14. Our fathers are in the earth, and our own final tendency is to it; and what have we then to be proud of? (2.) Yet the Maker was great, and the make fine. The Lord God, the great fountain of being and power, formed man. Of the other creatures it is said that they were created and made; but of man that he was formed, which denotes a gradual process in the work with great accuracy and exactness. To express the creation of this new thing, he takes a new word, a word (some think) borrowed from the potter's forming his vessel upon the wheel; for we are the clay, and God the potter, Isa_64:8. The body of man is curiously wrought, Psa_139:15, Psa_139:16. Materiam superabat opus - The workmanship exceeded the materials. Let us present our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Rom_12:1), as living temples (1Co_6:19), and then these vile bodies shall shortly be new-formed like Christ's glorious body, Phi_3:21.
2. The high origin and the admirable serviceableness of the soul of man. (1.) It takes its rise from the breath of heaven, and is produced by it. It was not made of the earth, as the body was; it is a pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and mind earthly things. It came immediately from God; he gave it to be put into the body (Ecc_12:7), as afterwards he gave the tables of stone of his own writing to be put into the ark, and the urim of his own framing to be put into the breast-plate. Hence God is not only the former but the Father of spirits. Let the soul which God has breathed into us breathe after him; and let it be for him, since it is from him. Into his hands let us commit our spirits, for from his hands we had them. (2.) It takes its lodging in a house of clay, and is the life and support of it. It is by it that man is a living soul, that is, a living man; for the soul is the man. The body would be a worthless, useless, loathsome carcase, if the soul did not animate it. To God that gave us these souls we must shortly give an account of them, how we have employed them, used them, proportioned them, and disposed of them; and if then it be found that we have lost them, though it were to gain the world, we shall be undone for ever. Since the extraction of the soul is so noble, and its nature and faculties are so excellent, let us not be of those fools that despise their own souls, by preferring their bodies before them, Pro_15:32. When our Lord Jesus anointed the blind man's eyes with clay perhaps he intimated that it was he who at first formed man out of the clay; and when he breathed on his disciples, saying, Receive you the Holy Ghost, he intimated that it was he who at first breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life. He that made the soul is alone able to new-make it.-
Matthew Henry

Marriage and the Constitution

The article below was penned by Manfred at Defending Contending.
I also read this article concerning our constitution and marriage - http://jurist.org/forum/2014/10/richard-kelsey-samesex-marriage.php

There’s something more basic than homosexual activism and the resulting ruling by black-robed oligarchy declaring marriage a basic right that must include two (will it soon be three or more?) men or women.  States must offer and recognize marriage licenses for these couples. This is interesting because there are myriad licenses issued by the states that are not honored automatically by other states (concealed handguns, medical, law, plumbing, hair dressing) and there is no out-cry that basic human rights are being violated or that the national government has an obligation to “level the playing field.”
Search the U.S. Constitution and copy down every phrase that touches on marriage. …

Make Disciples, not returning customers

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Obsession with self

(Joseph Bianchi)

In the twenty-first century, we are obsessed with self-satisfaction and getting our desires met. Hence, any teaching that invades our lifestyle and tells us we must alter or discard out old habits, is usually consigned to the junk pile. In so thinking and doing, the church has been transformed into a spiritual playpen where the crying babies must be appeased with what makes them feel good.

The Evangelical world is abuzz with terms like "purpose driven church" or "seeker friendly church". What these terms really amount to is one thing:compromise

The goal of churches should not be to see how much like the world they can be, so as to make worldly people feel comfortable. Rather, the churches should be so unlike the world, so alien to the world, that the disillusioned unbeliever will be drawn to them.

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
 Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial
 What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
 
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."  "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."  "I will be a Father to you,and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

A powerful warning

Friday, June 26, 2015

Breaking news

It's official, America has trampled underfoot God's design for marriage- one man and one woman- now we  {unregenerate sinners} can expect what Sodom and Gomorrah got...severe judgment. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of homosexual marriage, trampling underfoot God's holy word. We must pray for a God to strengthen those who stand firm on His truth and we must pray for this nation- judgment will fall. May God have mercy on this wicked, vile, godless nation.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Silencing those who dare speak in opposition to homosexual deviancy

There is a very dark side to the sin of homosexuality, and they dare not speak of it. This perversion breeds all kinds of grief, including increased addiction to drugs and alcohol, rampant promiscuity, and raging jealousy, just to mention a few.
There is not one thing loving about this perversion, because it isn’t based on love. This sin stems from a burning lust, as Romans 1:27 states.
Behind closed doors these reprobates are worse than wild animals, performing devious acts that would cause most to be horrified. They use worldly terminology to soften the repulsiveness of their sin, calling it ‘same sex attraction’, and ‘sexual orientation’. The Bible makes no bones about it, this sin is an abomination to God, who is thoroughly repulsed by such deviant behavior. Even the thought of such wickedness is sinful.
Part of the homosexual agenda includes purposely NOT mentioning what they do in secret, perhaps that’s a blessing. However, it’s how they’ve managed to push acceptance of their perversion. Here is some of their ‘agenda’ laid out by two homosexuals – ” Constant talk builds the impression that public opinion is at least divided on the subject, and that a sizable segment accepts or even practices homosexuality. Even rancorous debates between opponents and defenders serve the purpose of desensitization so long as “respectable” gays are front and center to make their own pitch. The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome.
At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights-long after other gay ads have become commonplace-it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified. (This will be all the more necessary because, by that time, the entrenched enemy will have quadrupled its output of vitriol and disinformation.) Our goal is here is twofold. First, we seek to replace the mainstream’s self-righteous pride about its homophobia with shame and guilt. Second, we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
And when we say talk about homosexuality, we mean just that. 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 itself. 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 inside the tent–only later his unsightly derriere! – sourcehttp://library.gayhomeland.org/0018/EN/EN_Overhauling_Straight.htm

I read a news story today concerning a doctor in Boston losing his job because he spoke the truth about the dangers of homosexual deviancy. From the article....
Dr. Paul Church has been a urologist on the BIDMC staff in Boston for nearly 30 years. He is a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. He has done research on diagnosing prostate and bladder cancer, and has been a frequent volunteer for medical mission projects in Mexico and Africa. He has also spoken before educational and civic groups on the subject of high-risk sexual behaviors.

Voicing serious medical (and moral) concerns

Over a decade ago, Dr. Church became concerned about the hospital’s aggressive promotion of and involvement in LGBT activities -- including Boston’s annual “Gay Pride Week” – and its emphatic push for staff participation in them. He felt compelled to speak out.
Through emails to hospital officials and later posting on the hospital’s Intranet system, Dr. Church cited irrefutable medical evidence that high-risk sexual practices common to the LGBT community lead to (among other things) a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, STD's, hepatitis, parasitic infections, anal cancers, and psychiatric disorders.
Promoting such behavior, he said, is contrary to the higher mission of the healthcare facility to protect the public welfare and encourage healthy lifestyles.  Dr. Church also reminded the administration that its staff and employees represent a diversity of moral and religious views, and many believe that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral."



I encourage you to go here and read the entire article concerning  Dr. Church and  him voicing his concerns and findings on homosexual deviancy.  
We must pray for all sinners, we must speak the truth and warn of impending judgment. We know time is not on our side. America is a wicked, godless nation that will soon face the wrath of God. Far be it for those of us who are in Christ to be complacent or apathetic.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Man by nature is insane

"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time!" Genesis 6:5 

"Her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes!"Revelation 18:5 

"Fools mock at sin!"
 Proverbs 14:9
"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them!" Romans 1:32
Man by nature is insane! He suffers from a deep rooted psychosis called sin!An unseen principle of madness permeates his entire being! Fallen man is a stark raving lunatic--whose depravity, rebellion, and malice against God literally knows no limit.

Thoroughly degraded, man is a weak, tiny, insignificant, little dung-beetle--yet, in his senseless audacity and brazen insolence he daily tempts God to destroy him by stubbornly refusing to obey Him. 

If it is madness for maggots on a dunghill to oppose the all-powerful boot of man--then we worms of the earth dare not oppose the Most High God, whose invisible boot of omnipotent sovereignty could squash our souls into Hell with unthinkable ease! Such unwarranted impudence is not only futile, but completely and utterly insane!
"You have sinned against the Lord. Be sure your sin will find you out!" Numbers 32:23

"I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless!" Isaiah 13:11  

 Frank Hall

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Christian life

(Arthur Pink)

"If anyone would come after Me, he must:
   deny himself and 
   take up his cross daily and
   follow Me."
 Luke 9:23 

The Christian life is a life that consists of following Jesus.

The first step toward a daily following of Christ, is the denying of self.

Many suppose they are followers of Christ, and yet ignore the path which He traveled. They imagine that may decline the unpleasant tasks of denying self and cross bearing--and yet enter Heaven when they die. What a delusion!

The one who disregards God's commandments is not walking as Christ walked; instead, he is walking as the world walks.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I givethem eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:27-28

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The sad origin of sin


Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?   -  Genesis 3:1


I know not whether we ought to consider this chapter, as the most melancholy, or the most pleasing in the whole Bible. It certainly contains the substance of what forms both. Here we read the sad origin of sin, and its unavoidable consequences, misery and death. And here, we no less, behold the first discoveries of grace, in the promised redemption, by our Lord Jesus Christ. So that while that sentence is still felt, In Adam all die; that mercy is, no less promised, In Christ shall all be made alive. The contents of this chapter may be summed up under a few particulars. The account of the devices of Satan; the fall of our first parents; the arraignment of the sinners at the bar of Divine Justice; God’s sentence, which followed; and the expulsion, in consequence thereof, of the first transgressors from Paradise.
Gen_3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

It is worthy observation that the scriptures uniformly distinguish our implacable enemy by this name. John calls the devil and Satan that old serpent, which deceiveth the whole world. Rev_12:9; Rev_20:2. So Paul; the serpent, saith he, beguiled Eve through subtlety. 2Co_11:3. But I would recommend the Reader to remark with me, the arguments the great enemy made use of, in order to accomplish his purposes on our poor nature, in the person of our first mother. In this verse his conversation opens with seemingly questioning the truth of God’s command. ’Yea!’ saith he, ’hath God said!’ thereby intimating, as though it were impossible for God’s laws to be too rigorous. Reader! it is the same plan with him now. His stratagem is to raise doubts and questions in the mind, of the reality of divine judgments; and when once he hath tempted us to disbelieve what the Lord hath said, the next step to disobedience is not far to make.  - Robert Hawker

Immortal, invisible God only wise

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Depravity deepens

It seems the homosexual agenda is gaining strength; there's a yogurt ad that features two lesbians...and it's receiving praise. How telling is that? Society is racing closer to being nothing more than sexual deviants. 
The ad is being called 'stunning' by Huffington Post, and 'steamy' by New York Daily News. Hallmark has even jumped on the homosexual bandwagon with their ad this past Valentine's day. We are seeing Romans 1 playing out before our very eyes as sin increases and society progresses deeper into it. How long before they try to silence those who stand firm on God's truth?

Here is the link to Amy Spreeman's post at Berean Research...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Confusion of face

"O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face . . . because we have sinned against Thee."
Daniel 9:8 
A deep sense and clear sight of sin, its heinousness, and the punishment which it deserves, should make us lie low before the throne. We have sinned as Christians. Alas! that it should be so. Favoured as we have been, we have yet been ungrateful: privileged beyond most, we have not brought forth fruit in proportion. Who is there, although he may long have been engaged in the Christian warfare, that will not blush when he looks back upon the past? As for our days before we were regenerated, may they be forgiven and forgotten; but since then, though we have not sinned as before, yet we have sinned against light and against love--light which has really penetrated our minds, and love in which we have rejoiced. Oh, the atrocity of the sin of a pardoned soul! An unpardoned sinner sins cheaply compared with the sin of one of God's own elect ones, who has had communion with Christ and leaned his head upon Jesus' bosom. Look at David! Many will talk of his sin, but I pray you look at his repentance, and hear his broken bones, as each one of them moans out its dolorous confession! Mark his tears, as they fall upon the ground, and the deep sighs with which he accompanies the softened music of his harp! We have erred: let us, therefore, seek the spirit of penitence. Look, again, at Peter! We speak much of Peter's denying his Master. Remember, it is written, "He wept bitterly." Have we no denials of our Lord to be lamented with tears? Alas! these sins of ours, before and after conversion, would consign us to the place of inextinguishable fire if it were not for the sovereign mercy which has made us to differ, snatching us like brands from the burning. My soul, bow down under a sense of thy natural sinfulness, and worship thy God. Admire the grace which saves thee--the mercy which spares thee--the love which pardons thee!

C.H. Spurgeon

Ahead of it's time

The Word of God teaches that prior to the return of Jesus Christ, to this earth, there will be a re-appearance, and a convergence, of the characteristics of two periods of great wickedness, mentioned in Old Testament times. History will repeat itself. It has a strange habit of doing so!

The days of Noah, and the days of Lot, will reappear and converge at the end of this age. This is the teaching of Jesus Christ in Luke 17:26-30: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed
.


continue reading here...

Universal redemption?

Can it be conceived that there should be a redemption of men and those men not redeemed; that a price should be paid and the purchase never consummated? Yet all this must be true, and innumerable other absurdities, if universal redemption be asserted: a price would be paid for all yet few delivered: the redemption of all perfected yet few redeemed: the judge satisfied, the jailor conquered and yet prisoners remain enthralled in bondage, and that eternally. ~  John Owen

God is greatly to be feared


God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him." Psalm 89:7

“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints.” The holiest tremble in the presence of the thrice Holy One; their familiarity is seasoned with the pro-foundest awe. Perfect love casts out the fear which hath torment, and works in lieu thereof that other fear which is akin to joy unutterable. How reverent should our worship be! Where angels veil their faces, men should surely bow in lowliest fashion. Sin is akin to presumptuous boldness, but holiness is sister to holy fear. “And to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” The nearer they are the more they adore. If mere creatures are struck with awe, the courtiers and favourites of heaven must be yet more reverent in the presence of the Great King. God's children are those who most earnestly pray “hallowed be thy name.” Irreverence is rebellion. Thoughts of the covenant of grace tend to create a deeper awe of God, they draw us closer to him, and the more his glories are seen by us in that nearer access, the more humbly we prostrate ourselves before his Majesty. ~ C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, June 12, 2015

Enchanted but unchanged

Sin shall not have dominion over you

What has crippled the church

“If a teacher fascinates with his doctrine, his teaching never came from God. The teacher sent from God is the one who clears the way to Jesus and keeps it clear; souls forget altogether about him because the vision of Jesus is the only abiding result. When people are attracted to Jesus Christ through you, see always that you stay on God all the time, and their hearts and affections will never stop at you.
[What] has crippled many a church, many a Sunday School class and Bible class, is that the pastor or teacher has won people to himself, and the result when they leave is enervating sentimentality. The true man or woman of God never leaves that behind, every remembrance of them makes you want to serve God all the more.
So beware of stealing the hearts of the people of God in your mind. (2 Samuel 15:6) If once you get the thought, ‘It is my winsome way of putting it, my presentation of the truth that attracts’—the only name for that is the ugly name of thief, stealing the hearts of the sheep of God who do not know why they stop at you. Keep the mind stayed on God, and I defy anyone’s heart to stop at you, it will always go on to God. The peril comes when we forget that our duty is to present Jesus Christ and never get in the way in thought.”
Oswald Chambers
1874-1917

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Matthew VInes, an unregenerate sinner used by Satan

Homosexual Matthew Vines claims to be a Christian, but his fruit proves he is an unregenerate, a tool in the hands of Satan to push perversion and twist God's holy word as well as His attributes. There truly is no such thing as a 'gay Christian', for true born again believers flee their sins, just as the Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 6:11, 'such WERE some of you'. There is no such thing as 'gay' when in comes to sexual perversion, this title lessens the offense of the sickening sin of homosexuality. 
Playing on the emotions and labeling sin as anything other than what it is is exactly how these unregenerate sinners are pushing their filth forward. If you dare speak out biblically, you will be labeled as unloving and judgmental. So be it.
Homosexuality is an abomination to a thrice-holy God, as Leviticus 18:22 states. This is not open for debate, God has spoken and He WILL judge all who continue on in their sins -- "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty" It is quite clear God is not playing, He cannot stand sin, all sin is repulsive to Him. To claim that one can be a practicing homosexual and be a follower of Christ is just not true. The bible nowhere states you can stay in bondage to your sins and still have Christ. The Lord Jesus says all who sin are slaves to sin, however, if Christ sets you free, you are free indeed {John 8:34,36}. Sin no longer is your master, Christ becomes your Master and empowers you over sin. Romans chapter 6 and 1 John 3 are good chapters to study concerning the Christian and the freedom from sin's bondage. 

I want to share a post with you from Amy Spreeman from Berean Research concerning Vines and his behind closed door meetings with what some call 'Evangelicals'. This too is a lie, for those he met with are neither called by God nor do they represent the God of the Bible. In any case, here is the link. 

I do pray for mercy for Matthew Vines, he is deluded and deceived. He is under wrath and will face eternal punishment unless God has mercy on him. May it please the Lord to truly save this lost reprobate, while there's still time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Lord is my portion

Octavius Winslow


It is our great privilege, beloved, that we live in a portionless world. This is both our distinctive badge and our Christian charter. When God parceled out the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, He made an exception in the tribe of Levi, to whom He said, "You shall have no inheritance in the land, neither shall you have any part among them;" assigning as His reason, "I am your share and your inheritance." The gospel teaching of this is obvious and significant. As the Lord's true priesthood, this world is not our portion, nor earth our rest. It may have required some painful discipline, and no small measure of faith, on the part of the devout Levite, as he gazed upon the fertile meadows, the watered plains, and the vine-clad hills of the Promised Land, before he was made willing to relinquish it all for Him who is invisible--and it needs no little teaching and discipline of our God, and no little faith on our part, before we are led to give up the world, the creature, self, and all, for Christ--satisfied to have the Lord alone as our Portion, and heaven only as our inheritance.

But the Lord will not put His people off with anything unworthy of Him to give, or them to accept. He has set them apart for Himself, and Himself apart for them. "All believers are the Lord's CLERGY; and as they are His portion, so He is theirs." (Leighton.) "The Lord's portion is His people, Israel is the lot of His inheritance." "The Lord is my portion, says my soul." His love to us was so great, that when He could give no greater proof of that love, He gave HIMSELF. Nothing more could have expressed the yearnings of His heart, nothing less could have satisfied the desires of ours.

And oh, what a Portion is God! All that He is and all that He has is ours! Every attribute of His being is over us, every perfection of His nature encircles us, every pulse of His heart beats for us, every glance of His eye smiles upon us. We dwell in God, and God dwells in us. It is not the world which is our portion, but HE who made, upholds and governs the world. It is not the creature who is our portion, but the Lord of angels and the Creator of men. Infinite portion! illimitable power! immeasurable grace! boundless love! all-satisfying good! all, all is ours!
And what a Portion, O my soul, is Christ! A divine Christ, a redeeming Christ, a full Christ, a sympathizing, ever-present, ever-precious, ever-loving Christ. 
'
Lord, I bless You for the discipline that brought me to realize what a divine, all-satisfying Portion I have in Yourself. You took from me an earthly portion, only to enrich me with a Heavenly one. You removed from me the human prop upon which I too fondly and idolatrously leaned, that I might learn what Christ was, as my soul's all-sufficient, all-satisfying, and everlasting Portion. I can now admire the wisdom and adore the love that blasted my gourds and emptied me from vessel to vessel, that, rising superior to the broken staff, the drooping flower, and the failing spring of creature good, I might claim my portion as a true spiritual Levite in Yourself alone.'

Believer in Jesus! make the most of your portion. It is all-sufficient for all your need. God has, perhaps, made you poor in this world, that you might be rich in faith and an heir of that kingdom of glory, the New Jerusalem, He has prepared for you--whose foundations are precious stones, whose walls are jasper, whose gates are pearls, whose streets are pure gold, and through which softly flows the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb, in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river is the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruit, and yielding her fruit every month. All this awaits you! Hope in the Lord, hope in adversity, hope in trial, hope against hope, for God in Christ is your present and eternal Portion. "The Lord is my Portion, says my soul; therefore I will HOPE in Him."


Sunday, June 7, 2015

The danger of an unconverted ministry


And Jesus, when he came out, saw much People, and was moved with Compassion towards them, because they were as Sheep not having a Shepard.
As a faithful Ministry is a great Ornament, Blessing, and Comfort, to the Church of God; even the feet of such Messengers are beautiful: So on the contrary, an ungodly Ministry is a great Curse and Judgment: These Caterpillars labour to devour every green Thing.
There is nothing that may more justly call forth our saddest Sorrows, and make all our Powers and Passions mourn, in the most doleful Accents, the most incessant, insatiable, and deploring Agonies; than the melancholy Case of such, who have no faithful Ministry! This truth is set before our Minds in a strong Light, in the Words that I have chosen now to insist upon; in which we have an account of our Lords Grief, with the Causes of it.
We are informed, That our dear Redeemer was moved with Compassion towards them. The Original Word signifies the strongest and most vehement Pity, issuing from the innermost Bowels.
But what was the Cause of this great and compassionate Commotion in the Heart of Christ? It was because he saw much People as Sheep having no Shepherd. Why, had the People then no Teachers? Oh yes! They had heaps of Pharisee-Teachers, that came out, no doubt after they had been at the feet of Gamaliel the usual Time, and according to the Acts, Canons, and Traditions of the Jewish Church. But notwithstanding of the great Crowds of these Orthodox, Letter-learned and regular Pharisees, our Lord laments the unhappy Case of that great number of People, who, in the Days of his Flesh, had no better Guides: Because that those were as good as none (in many Respects) in our Saviours Judgment. For all them, the People were as Sheep without a Shepard...

Natural Men have no Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work, under the Gospel-Dispensation.
Isnt it a principal part of the ordinary Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work, to aim at the Glory of GOD, and, in Subordination thereto, the Good of Souls, as their chief Marks in their Undertaking that Work? And can any natural Man on Earth do this? No! no! Every skin of them has an evil Eye; for no cause can produce effects above its own Power. Are not wicked Men forbid to meddle in Things sacred? Ps. 50. 16. But unto the wicked, GOD saith, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldst take my Covenant in thy Mouth? Now, are not all unconverted Men wicked Men? Does not the Lord Jesus inform us, John 10. I. That he that entreth not by the Door into the Sheep-fold, but climbeth up some other Way, the same is a Thief and a Robber? In the 9th v. Christ tells us, That He is the Door; and that if any Man enter in by him, he shall be saved, by him, i.e. By Faith in him, says Henry. Hence we read of a Door of Faith, being opened to the Gentiles. Acts 14. 27. It confirms this Gloss, that Salvation is annexed to the Entrance before-mentioned. Remarkable is that Saying of our Saviour, Matth. 4. 19. Follow me, and I will make you Fishers of Men. See, our LORD will not make Men Ministers, Îtil they follow him. Men that do not follow Christ, may fish faithfully for a good Name, and for worldly . . . ; but not for the Conversion of Sinners to God. Is it reasonable to suppose, that they will be earnestly concerned for others Salvation, when they slight their own? Our LORD reprovd Nicodemus for taking upon him the Office of instructing others, while he himself was a stranger to the New Birth, John. 3. 10. Art thou a Master of Israel, and knowest not these Things? The Apostle Paul (in 1Tim. 1. 12.) thanks GOD for counting him faithful, and putting him into the Ministry; which plainly supposes, That GOD Almighty does not send Pharisees and natural Men into the Ministry: For how can these Men be faithful, that have no Faith? Its true, Men may put them into the Ministry, through Unfaithfulness, or Mistake; or Credit and Money may draw them, and the Devil may drive them into it, knowing by long Experience, of what special Service they may be to his Kingdom in that Office: But God sends not such hypocritical Varlets. HenceTimothy was directed by the Apostle Paul, to commit the ministerial Work to faithful Men. 2 Tim. 2. 2. And do not these Qualifications, necessary for Church-Officers, specified 1.Tim. 3. 7,8,9,11. & Tit. 1.7,8. plainly suppose converting Grace? How else can they avoid being greedy of filthy Lucre? How else can they hold the Mystery of Faith in a pure Conscience, and be faithful in all Things? How else can they be Lovers of Good, sober, just, holy, temperate? . . .
All the Doings of unconverted Men, not Proceeding from the Principles of Faith, Love, and a new Nature, nor being directed to the divine Glory as their highest End, but flowing from, and tending to Self, as their Principle and End; are doubtless damnably wicked in their Manner of Performance, and do deserve the Wrath and Curse of a Sin-avenging GOD; neither can any other Encouragement be justly given them, but this, That in the Way of Duty, there is a Peradventure or Probability of obtaining Mercy.
And natural Men, wanting the Experience of those spiritual Difficulties, which pious Souls are exposed to, in this Vale of Tears; they know not how to speak a Word to the Weary in Season.
Their Prayers are also cold; little Child-like Love to God, or Pity to poor perishing Souls, runs thro their Veins.
Their Conversation hath nothing of the Saviour of Christ, neither is it perfumed with the Spices of Heaven. They seem to make as little Distinction in their Practice, as Preaching. . . .
If it be so, That the Case of those, who have no other, or no better than Pharisee-Teachers, is to be pitied: Then what a Scrole and Scene of Mourning, and Lamentation, and Wo, is opened! Because of the Swarms of Locusts, the Crowds of Pharisees, that have as covetously as cruelly, crept into the Ministry, in this adulterous Generation! . . .
If the Ministry of natural Men be as it has been represented; Then it is both lawful and expedient to go from them to hear Godly Persons. . . .
To bind Men to a particular Minister, against their Judgment and Inclinations, when they are more edified elsewhere, is carnal with a Witness; a cruel Oppression of tender Consciences, a Compelling of Men to Sin: For he that doubts, is damnd if he eat; and whatsoever is not of Faith, is Sin. . . .
To trust the Care of our Souls to those who have little or no Care for their own, to those who are both unskillful and unfaithful, is contrary to the common Practice of considerate Mankind, relating to the Affairs of their Bodies and Estates; and would signify, that we set light by our Souls, and did not care what became of them. For if the Blind lead the Blind, will they not both fall into the Ditch? . . .
I would conclude my present Meditations upon this Subject, by Exhorting
All those who enjoy a faithful Ministry, to a speedy and sincere Improvement of so rare and valuable a Privilege; lest by their foolish Ingratitude the Righteous GOD be provokd, to remove the Means they enjoy, or his Blessing from them, and so at last to expose them in another State to Enduring and greater Miseries. For surely, these Sins, which are committed against greater Light and Mercy, are more presumptuous, ungrateful, and inexcusable; there is in them a greater Contempt of GODs Authority, and Slight of his Mercy; those Evils do awfully violate the Conscience, and declare a Love to Sin as Sin; such Transgressors do rush upon the Bosses of GODs Buckler, they court Destruction without a Covering, and embrace their own Ruin with open Arms. And therefore according to the Nature of Justice, which proportions Sinners Pains, according to the Number and Heinousness of their Crimes, and the Declaration of divine Truth, you must expect an inflamed Damnation: Surely, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the Day of the LORD, than for you, except ye repent.
And let gracious Souls be exhorted, to express the most tender Pity over such as have none but Pharisse-Teachers; and that in the Manner before described: To which let the example of our LORD in the Text before us, be an inducing and effectual Incitement; as well as the gracious and immense Rewards, which follow upon so generous and noble a Charity, in this and the next State.
And let those who live under the Ministry of dead Men, whether they have got the Form of Religion or not, repair to the Living, where they may be edified. Let who will, oppose it. What famous Mr. Jenner observes upon his Head, is most just, ãThat if there be any godly Soul, or any that desires the Salvation of his Soul, and lives under a blind Guide, he cannot go out (of his Parish) without giving very great Offense; it will be thot a Giddiness, and a Slighting of his own Minister at home. -When people came out of every Parish round about, to John, no Question but this bred Heart-burning against John, ay, and Ill-will against those People, that would not be satisfied with that Teaching they had in their own Synagogues.ä Thus far he. But tho your Neighbors growl against you, and reproach you for doing your Duty, in seeking your Souls Good; bear their unjust Censures with Christian Meekness, and persevere; as knowing that Suffering is the Lot of Christs Followers, and that spiritual Benefits do infinitely overbalance all temporal Difficulties.
And O! that vacant Congregations would take due Care in the Choice of their Ministers! Here indeed they should hasten slowly. The Church of Ephesus is commended, for trying them which said they were Apostles, and were not; and for finding them Liars. Hypocrites are against all knowing of others, and Judging, in order to hide their own Filthiness; like Thieves they flee a Search, because of their stolen Goods. But the more they endeavor to hide, the more they expose their Shame. Does not the spiritual Man judge all Things? Tho he cannot know the States of subtle Hypocrites infallibly; yet may he not give a near Guess, who are the Sons ofSeeva, by their Manner of Praying, Preaching, and Living? Many Pharisee-Teachers have got a long fine String of Prayer by Heart, so that they are never at a Loss about it; their Prayers and Preachings are generally of a Length, and both as dead as a Stone, and without all Savour. I beseech you, my dear Brethren, to consider, That there is no Probability of your getting Good, by the Ministry of Pharisees. For they are no Shepherds (no faithful ones) in Christs Account. They are as good as none, nay, worse than none, upon some Accounts. For take them first and last, and they generally do more Hurt than Good. They serve to keep better out of the Places where they live; nay, when the Life of Piety comes near their Quarters, they rise up in Arms against it, consult, contrive and combine in their Conclaves against it, as a common Enemy, that discovers and condemns their Craft and Hypocrisy. And with what Art, Rhetorick, and Appearances of Piety, will they varnish their Opposition of Christs Kingdom? As the Magicians imitated the works of Moses, so do false Apostles, and deceitful Workers, the Apostles of Christ.
I shall conclude this Discourse with the Words of the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. 11. 14,15.
And no Marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of Light: Therefore it is no great Thing if his Ministers also be transformed as the Ministers of Righteousness; whose End shall be according to their Works.