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, July 23, 2017

Idols

Throughout history man has had the urge, the need to worship something or someone all in an effort to relieve the guilt of his sin. It didn't matter who or what the object of his worship was, just so long as it was not the God that created him. Adam worshipped himself, his pleasure, his lust, as he received and ate the forbidden fruit in order to remain with Eve (1 Tim. 2:14). And so the pattern was set and it continues unabated and enhanced to this day. There are so many idols in the world today it is impossible to list them all. The common thread of all idols is "anything/anyone but Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The human imagination inflamed by the lies of the wicked one have produced many an enticing figure, most, if not all, of these remain as objects of worship today.

Bringing this to the current day condition of what is claimed to be the "evangelical church" we find little to no worship of Christ in the Spirit. What we do find are untold numbers of false prophets, defended to the hilt by their 'faithful subjects' who, by the words of their own mouth, exhibit no love of the truth and certainly no love for the Lord Jesus Christ; their only real allegiance is for their idolized preacher. This can be seen by their ever escalating defense, adulation, and stubborn unwillingness to recognize their own error, thus perpetuating and increasing the stature of their idol in their own mind and the minds of their captive audience. It quickly becomes a "snowball rolling downhill" thing. Sadly, some genuine believers may be caught up in this evil, BUT when their heart is opened to the truth they will and do repent (Phil. 2:12 & 13). If simple defense of their idol does not silence the whistleblower, they soon resort to "character assassination" and if real stones where available they would 'dispatch' their opponent just like their counterparts did to Stephen, Paul, and untold others. So adamant is their defense of these idolized charlatans that they have become twofold more a child of hell than the man/woman who birthed them into this evil (Matt. 23:15).

The alarm that is sounded here includes EVERY national recognized, praised, and sought after preacher/preacherette of all the flavors of Christianity that the world is subjected to today. This is not a glib statement or one made in haste, but one borne of 'due diligence'. This conclusion was reached by listening to and reading the words of these false prophets that emanated from their own mouth, 'sermons' and books. Men John MacArthur whose litany of aberrant doctrine and outright heresy seems to only get larger. Most notable of which is his notion that a man can receive the mark of the beast and later be "saved" and his belief that the Blood of Jesus Christ is not an integral part of the Gospel, but some sort of side note. [More on than soon.] He is a double minded man as seen in his own words concerning the Sovereignty of God in the salvation of man. His idea of "Lordship Salvation" is nothing more than salvation by works carefully disguised as "truth." There is more, but the point is made. Most recently is James White who gladly welcomes an antichrist to spew his poison to the (supposed?) people of God. 'Supposed' because not only did White allow for his opponent's lies to go unchallenged, but the audience did as well. All of this was done in the 'name of evangelism' as Christ was 'left out in the cold.' So plug in any popular evangelical type and check them out for yourselves---you must go beyond the public persona and the hype given for the world and the 'church' to drool over. Dig beneath the surface and you will find that all possess huge egos that never get enough praise who invariably treat us to their own brand of false humility. All are bent toward ecumenicalism, some outright and some hide in the closet. All will leave the 'flock' (true believers) to the will of wolves, they, themselves being the chief wolf. They will trumpet themselves as the 'guardians and purveyors of the truth' all the while lacing what little 'truth' they may employ to deceive the masses. They will use flattery to disarm the rightful defenses of the wary. [Check out 'flattery' in a concordance and see how God hates it.] Even their attempt to "preach the Gospel" or give the illusion that they love the Lord Jesus is filled with double talk, ambiguity, and leaves the hearer more baffled than settled. Despite all their smooth words for public consumption their end game is deceit. Their refusal to hold their peers accountable for their errors is the same thing as denying the Lord Jesus. And so it is for the pew sitter. Though they claim to "preach Christ" the reality is that they deny Him by their complicity to error, their refusal to sound the alarm no matter who it is (especially when it's a 'friend'), and their hatred for those who dare to expose them. In all of this they exhibit one thing to the astute believer: their greed. Greed for praise from their peers and mostly from their underlings; the next book deal or conference invitation; but mostly for $$$. This pleases Christ, how? Rather than repent when exposed they will bend over backwards in their never ending quest to prove all their words are 'right.' By doing this they mock the Goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). Further, by doing this they not only mock His Goodness, but they deny Lord Jesus Christ Himself. "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." [No finer recent example of a man denying Christ can be found as was seen in the silence of James White as an antichrist tried to mutilate the Gospel and the integrity of Jesus Christ.] Matt. 10:32 & 33. "For whosoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:38. The problem with false prophets is bad enough, but it would soon disappear if those who coddle them and give them money and support them in any way would wake up and stop. It is the wickedness and blindness of these 'supporters' that perpetuates the heretics.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Have you made provision for death?

Feminism and the Abortion Holocaust

yasir-qadhis-blasphemy-and-james-whites-silence

Go to this link to listen to this radio program - http://megiddoradio.com/2017/06/26/264-yasir-qadhis-blasphemy-and-james-whites-silence/


“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”―John Calvin

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"For His Name's Sake"

Sometimes when we read the Word a word, or a phrase, or a concept seems to jump off the page and it sticks with us for a time and we begin to see the same thing in multiple places. I suspect this is another teaching tool used by the Lord to bring us to further knowledge of Himself (Eph. 1:17-19). Such is the case with "for His name's sake" as it is found several times directly stated and by implication in other places. The account given in Exodus of Moses and Pharaoh is a prime example. The judgment of Egypt and Pharaoh via Moses is declared in Ex.9:16, "But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Compare this with Ex. 10:1. Even the ever increasing hardening of Pharaoh's heart was for his judgment and the glory of the Lord. Ex. 14:4 "...I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army." The primary reason for the parting of the Red Sea was in order that the Lord would "gain honor" over Pharaoh and his army, Ex. 14:17 & 18. The Israelites benefited from this in more than one way. Not only were their physical lives spared, but they found a new 'fear of the Lord' and they "believed the Lord and His servant Moses" Ex. 14:31. See the honor brought to the name of the Lord as they sung the new song of Lord's exploits and His greatness---Ex. 15:1-18.

 In Ezek. 20:1-44 we have a running account of the judgments of Israel that were not carried out by the Lord because to wipe out Israel would bring a reproach on the name of the Lord in the eyes of the Gentiles who would say that He was not able to bring them into the promised land (vs. 8 & 9; 13 & 14; 21 & 22). Verse 41: "I will be hallowed in you [Israel] before the Gentiles." There is a thread that runs throughout the Scriptures concerning the elect of God and it is found in James 2:13, "Mercy rejoices [triumphs] over judgment." The display of this principle is seen in Ezek. 20. Perhaps a more glaring example of this can be seen in Jer. 33 where the Lord sends His people into the captivity of Babylon and yet even here we find that His mercy reigns over the righteous judgment He brought upon Israel (see vs. 37-41). The judgments of the Lord upon the lost are eternal, without mercy, irrevocable, and without appeal---all for His name's sake. The 'judgments' upon the elect (Hebrews calls it 'chastening') are for our good and ALWAYS end in mercy---all for His name's sake. The pleading and begging of Daniel for the Lord to show mercy on the captive Israelites ends with these words: "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name." [Perhaps this is one reason why it was said of Daniel "O man greatly beloved" Dan. 10:11 & 19.] "FOR YOU OWN SAKE" show mercy! We deserve all Your wrath, and are not worthy of mercy! Yet, for His name's sake, He gives abundant and eternal mercy to His chosen ones!

It may be objected that He does show mercy for our sakes as well, after all isn't that why He loves us? Such is the narrow, even narcissistic view of modern day Christendom whose error is plainly seen in Ezek. 36:16-32. It begins by recounting the rebellion and idolatry of Israel (who can lay claim to innocence today?) and the corresponding righteous judgment of the Lord. And yet for all of His wrath mercy shines forth, but not for the reason too many have concluded. V. 21: "But I had concern for My holy name which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went." V. 22: "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went." V.23 goes on to say: "And I will sanctify My great name...and the nations shall know that I am the Lord...when I am hallowed in you before their eyes." The next few verses tells us what the Lord will [for His name's sake] do: "I will take you from the nations"..."I will sprinkle clean water on you"..."I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols"..."I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh"..."I will put My Spirit within you [that's the 'new birth' or being 'born again'] and cause you to walk in My statutes and you will keep My judgments and do them"  and on He speaks and in V. 31 says: "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations." [Ever wonder why that from time to time the past seems to be remembered all too vividly? Read V. 31 again and know that after the memories subside, He is waiting to remind us of the mercy shown to us (for His name's sake) in delivering us from the power of all our sins (Rom. 6:14 & Col. 1:13 & others).] Then we have V. 32, perhaps the 'coup de grace' to the notion that we deserve His mercy: "Not for your sake do I do this, says the Lord, let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel."

The Psalms offer many a reference to this also. 143:11, 'Revive me for Your name's sake'; 109:21 'Deal with me for Your name's sake'; 106:8 He saved Israel for His name's sake; 23:3 He leads me for His name's sake; 31:3 for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me; 25:11, for Your name's sake pardon my sins. Then we have Psa. 69:7-9 where David pours out his heart before the Lord. "Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers and an alien to my mother's children; because zeal for you house has eaten me up and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me." Sound familiar? It should because this is not just David's complaint, but also a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus (Rom. 15:3; Isa. 53:3; John 2:17 & 7:3-5). "Because for You sake I have borne reproach" speaks directly to the suffering and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus from His betrayal to His death on the cross. He did all that He did for "His name's sake" and we are the beneficiaries of His sufferings. Make no mistake about it, everything that God has done has been "for His name's sake" from the creation (Col 1:16-18), all of history ( as briefly shown above), all future events and even the return of our Lord to this earth will be primarily for His glory in the eyes of his creatures and all of creation.

The New Testament is filled with this over-arching principle that all our Lord does is for His name's sake. 1 John 2:12 "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name's sake." What other reason could ever be tendered for the mercy of the Lord to His children that would not end in the puffing up of man and the lessening of the glory of God for the work of His Son? Is not 'for His name sake' more than sufficient for the humbled soul who has received His great salvation? What need is there to look any farther? 2 Tim. 1:9, "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began." ["before time began" an interesting phrase also found elsewhere in the NT, but for another day.] Again, we have absolutely nothing to do with whether we are saved or not, but the salvation we have been given was granted according to His own purpose and nothing else. This is made more clear in Eph. 1:1-14 where there is more to be learned than our brains can hold while here on earth. But He does open our hearts a little at a time. Here, we find a different phrase employed to get to same meaning as "for His name's sake" and that is "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (vs. 6, 12, 14). The words may be different, but the end result is the same, only our Lord is worthy to receive all glory. Some may object and say, 'but God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...' Yes, He did, but that shows no indication that He ever intended to 'save' every human being that ever lived, does it? Nor does it show simple pity as any sort of motivation which some may think it does. Pity is not an attribute of our Lord, but judgment, mercy and love are. As is shown time and again throughout the OT judgment comes first, followed by mercy (but only for God's children). Further, we have seen that all of His judgments against Israel were followed by mercy (the exception being AD 70 with the following mercy has been delayed for centuries). What a grand picture of the Lord Jesus Christ! He took the judgment for our sins and we are blessed with His mercy! We suffered nothing and yet we reap the eternal benefits of His Mercy and Love! There was never a "plan B" for Christ or our salvation. He was the One slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). What finer way to showcase the Attributes of our God than through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus? Our sin was judged (final and for all time), His enemies death and the wicked one will be vanquished at their appointed time, man's unrepentant rebellion was dealt a lasting blow and the principalities and powers of this world were made a public spectacle (Col. 2:1 & 15). Then we come to Rom. 2:8, "But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." There is no better way for the Love of God (for He IS Love) to be seen by the redeemed, the lost, or hell's minions than for Christ to have given His life as the ransom for the elect. It will be an eternal reminder of the cost of their rebellion. And it will be an eternal reminder of the praise and adoration due His name as we humbly bow before Him.

"But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"When you can't trace His hand--trust His heart!"

(Thomas Brooks)

"Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy!" Micah 7:18

God takes delight in showing of mercy. He takes no pleasure in giving His people up to adversity. Mercy and kindness flow from Him freely and naturally. He is never severe, never harsh. He never stings us--but when He is sadly provoked by us.

God's hand sometimes may lie very hard upon His people--when His heart, His affections at those very times may be yearning towards them. "Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him--declares the LORD." Jeremiah 31:20

No man can tell the heart of God--by His hand.
God's hand of mercy may be open to those against whom His heart is set--as you see in the rich fool and Dives.
And His hand of severity may lie hard upon those on whom He has set His heart--as you may see in Job and Lazarus.
"When you can't trace His hand--trust His heart!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

We need stirring up


Francis Bourdillon, 1864

2 PETER 1:12-15.
"Therefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me. Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."


In spiritual things we need putting in mind — even of that which we know well. For spiritual things are not like common things. Though we may know them well — yet we are apt to lose the impression of them on our hearts, to leave off feeling them, to grow cold and careless about them. We need putting in mind and stirring up. We need to hear the same things again and again, "line upon line — line upon line."
There is something very solemn in the way in which Peter writes here. He was now an old man and expected soon to die. "Knowing," he says, "that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me." He was at present in a tabernacle or tent only, meaning his mortal body; but he was soon going to put off the tabernacle and to leave the world. As long as he stayed, he would remind them of the truth and press it home to their hearts and consciences. Moreover, he would do his best that even when he was gone, they should still remember what he had taught them; and, with that view, as well as for their instruction at the time, he wrote these letters to them. God has preserved these writings for us to this very day.

For eighteen hundred years they have helped to bring men to the knowledge of the truth, and to put them in mind of it. Perhaps the apostle himself little thought how long his words would last, and how many millions would read them and hear them and receive good from them.

We shall all put off our tabernacle in a short time. How important is it that we should not let the things we have heard slip — that we should be giving diligence to make our calling and election sure — that we should not be negligent, careless, forgetful, or slothful!
The words of the aged apostle, so near his end, must have come to the early Christians with a solemn force. Let us also take them, not only as a portion of the inspired Word — but also as the parting charge of the dying servant of God. When eternity is near — solemn things seem yet more solemn. It was in this frame of mind that Peter wrote. In the same spirit let us receive his words.
We need stirring up — not so much to be taught something new, as to be stirred up as to what we have learned already.
Most of us have long ago been taught the facts and doctrines of the gospel. Probably we know them well. Perhaps we are even firmly "established in the present truth." We have learned of Heaven and Hell and eternity. We have been taught our lost estate as sinners, and that Jesus died for sinners — that His precious blood has atoned for sin, that He has opened the way for us to the throne of grace and to acceptance with God. We have heard of death and of judgment — and of the uncertainty of life and the shortness of time. We have been told . . .
of Satan's devices,
of the value of prayer,
of the mercy and love of God in Christ,
and of the work of the Spirit.
What is our spiritual state, after so much teaching? Alas, how cold are our hearts, how trifling are our thoughts, how small is our zeal and love! How little we have of deep sorrow for sin — and how little sincere faith in Jesus! Where are the fruits of the Spirit in us? Where is . . .
that deep concern,
that earnest desire,
that prayerfulness,
that watchfulness,
that warmth of feeling,
that pressing toward the mark —
which might be expected in those who have learned such things?
We need stirring up!
The prophet Isaiah speaks of stirring up oneself: "There is none who calls upon Your Name — none who stirs up himself to take hold of You." We should stir ourselves up thus. We should think of the great concerns of our souls. We should wake up from sleep. We should rouse ourselves to lay hold by faith afresh and more earnestly, on Christ our Savior.

We should stir ourselves up also by the Word of God.
Let us apply it to ourselves and take it as if addressed to us.
Let us not listen to it or read it carelessly.
Let us not be hearers only — but doers of the Word . . .
  receiving it as God's message,
  pondering it in our minds,
  applying it to ourselves,
  believing it, and
  striving to live by it!
Peter wrote as an aged servant of God, soon about to depart, but he wrote also as an inspired apostle — his words therefore are to be taken as the message of God to us.
Once more, let us pray for the quickening influence of God's Holy Spirit. This alone can really stir the depths of our hearts and rouse us from spiritual sloth and give us new earnestness and zeal.
Will He not hear our prayer for the quickening influence of His Spirit? Let us not doubt that He will. In all the coldness and deadness of our hearts, let us pray to Him for this; not waiting until we feel a glow of warmth and earnestness, but asking for that very thing. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said of the promised Comforter, "He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatever I have said unto you."
O God, our Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, send the quickening influence of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts. Leave us not in coldness and carelessness. Leave us not in the mere profession of faith. Preserve us from being barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Teach us to feel more deeply our need of Him; teach us to believe in Him more simply and fully; stir us up to lay hold on Him by faith, and help us to find peace in Him. Renew in us past impressions and convictions of Your Word — renew and strengthen and deepen. Help us to have these things always in remembrance. Revive Your work within us. Thus, even while in this tabernacle, may grace and peace be multiplied unto us; and hereafter may an entrance be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Lord, hear us for His sake. Amen.

Lovest thou me?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grace

The widely accepted definition of grace is: "unmerited favor." But is there more to it than that? Surely! There are a few Scriptures that will hopefully disperse the cob webs and get the wheels churning in our minds. Luke 2:40 "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Plug in today's take on grace here and we come up far short of the truth. If grace were nothing more than unmerited favor that would mean that Jesus did not merit His Father's grace, but was given grace despite His "unworthiness." Why was grace given to Christ in the first place? We shall see.

 Heb. 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower then the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Here, again, unmerited favor falls far short of truth and reality. The Son of God was given grace for the express purpose of suffering the death of the cross. If there were something in Him that was not worthy of all of His Father's graces, would that not indicate that He would be less than the perfect sacrifice required by the Scriptures? Indeed such would be the case. Thankfully, Christ is eternally worthy in every respect. So 'unmerited favor' doesn't work here either.

John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Today we might read this differently: 'full of unmerited favor and truth.' That doesn't quite work well when it concerns the Son of God. But too many have accepted today's rendition as "gospel truth" much like we do the definition of sin to be "missing the mark" while Scripture goes much farther and calls it "lawlessness" (but that's for another day).

1 Tim. 1:12 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." At first this seems that it would not belong in this discussion of grace, but it may be the most revealing of all. Coupled with 1Cor.15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I , but the grace of God that was with me." A more complete, accurate, and all-encompassing definition of grace would be "enabling power." Such a definition totally clears away any doubt of the worthiness of Christ which the old definition leaves to linger in the back of one's mind, even though it was never spoken. It is also in perfect agreement with the fact that no one member of the Trinity acts of His own accord, but always in concert with each other (John16:30). The grace given to Christ as depicted in the above verses was because He was in human flesh, with a human (unfallen) nature, and because Christ stated that He never did anything of His own accord (John 5:30).

There is a highly narcissistic flare to the current definition in that it gets the mind to focus on it's own unworthiness to the point that is very unhealthy and even debilitating. No one is ever worthy of anything received from God; grace, salvation, forgiveness, son-ship, eternity with Him, etc. The negative tone (unmerited) lends itself to focusing on us, whereas "enabling power" immediately directs our attention toward God. There is nothing wrong with occasionally remembering our former state as we had pleasure in sin, but the focus is never to linger there for long that it doesn't turn to fact that God---by His enabling power---has delivered us from our sins, then and now. Such reminders are not to beat us down (as Satan so enjoys to do) but to lift us up in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus for delivering us in the first place. He gets the praise due His Name and our joy overflows yet again----------------------even so, Come Lord Jesus!!!!!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Perhaps the most neglected and even maligned doctrine of recent years is the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Can anyone remember a clear, cogent, and powerful message on this doctrine? Having tasted many of the 'flavors' of Christianity offered in His Name today it is safe to say that never once did anyone give more than a passing mention of His resurrection. Even the fabled "Easter" sermons could hardly be given more than a D- (most a clear F) because they reduced this greatest of events in earth's history to a 'ho-hum' necessity of the day, rather than present it as it truly is: the very power of God, the defeat of all His enemies, and especially the demise of death itself. Much ado is made of the crucifixion and rightfully so, but to exclude the resurrection (whether through ignorance or on purpose) is eternally dangerous. Any presentation of the Gospel that fails to trumpet the resurrection is at best incomplete, and boils down to 'another gospel' that was not birthed in the mind and heart of God. Romans 10:8-10 speaks plainly enough of the requirement of the belief that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead in order for salvation to be authentic, but how will anyone know this if he has not been told (Rom. 10:14)?

There are many things that set the Gospel far and above all of man's idolatrous religions. The Virgin birth, the fact that God (Jesus Christ) took on human flesh, the miracles, the unassailable wisdom of Christ, the sinless life of the Savior, and on it goes. But the one thing that sets Jesus Christ far above all of His would-be imitators is the fact of His resurrection. Many may have died for their 'cause' but none claim, nor could they show any proof, that they were raised from the dead---but Christ did, Acts 1:3; John 20 &21. The resurrection is essential because without it there is no Gospel. His death by crucifixion, the shedding of His precious blood, even His burial would become meaningless if He did not triumph over these events by His resurrection. Paul makes this crystal clear in 1 Cor. 15:12-17. Everything, no, EVERYTHING hinges upon the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. 13:8 states that the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world. Before creation, in the mind and heart of the Trinity, the Lamb of God would die and be raised again for the salvation of His people (see also 1 Peter 1:20). [One of the finest examples of predestination to be found in Scripture.] Rom. 1:4 says that Christ "was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Acts 2: 23 & 24 tells us of the death of Christ that He was "...delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up having loosed the pains of death, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HELD BY IT." 2 Cor. 13:4 "For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God." The resurrection, the power of God, definitely synonyms, one does exist without the other, and both are indispensable to the Gospel.

So who raised Christ from the dead? The Father (Acts 2:24, 1 Peter 1:21, Rom. 8:11, 1Cor. 6:14 and many others); the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18) and by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 10:18, & 2:19). Nothing is ever done by just one person of the Trinity. They always work in total concert with each other, always in agreement, never is there a change of plan.

Also, of the many times that Jesus told His disciples of His impending death He always told them that He would be raised from the dead, too. Although they never understood what He was saying, they did remember later of His promise to be raised from the dead. In the Book of Acts all the 'sermons' where the crucifixion is mentioned, the resurrection follows quickly, mostly in the same sentence. Why we have allowed this doctrine to slip away from us and not make it the focal point of our speech is beyond comprehension. The resurrection IS the power of God and without it all else is meaningless. May the Lord direct our mind, heart and pen to please Him in all matters.

One more thing not to be neglected: Col. 2:11-15 speaks of our newly found life in Christ that He accomplished by His death and resurrection. These verses also speak of the 'disarming' of the principalities and powers (Satan, the wick one) in which Christ made a "public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." This He did when He rose from the dead, not while on the cross. On the Cross the Lord Jesus was somewhat the public spectacle, but for all eternity the resurrection will remind the enemies of God and His Christ that they are doomed.

The resurrection of Christ was a source of great joy to His disciples, I wonder how much joy it brings to our hearts today

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Our national moral degeneracy

In this sermon, Albert Martin deals with the shedding of innocent blood and its cry against the murderers who go unpunished by our laws.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Our nation's sexual sins, namely homosexuality

This sermon is excellent and MUCH NEEDED in our day.  This excerpt gives you an idea, 
"And from the state of toleration {of homosexuality}, they had become an acceptable form of behavior. and it's at that point the they become an acceptable form of behavior that they become a contagious form of behavior....and when the sin reached that point, God said 'enough' {speaking on the judgment unleashed on Sodom and Gomorrah}"


Ye must be born again!!

The importance of the preaching of the doctrine of regeneration in the mind of the great evangelist George Whitefield is most readily summed up in the famous answer which he gave when asked why he preached so much on the subject of men and women being “born again” by the Spirit of God. “Mr Whitefield,” the question ran, as it came from the lips of a woman who had been in his congregation many years, “Why do you preach so much on, ‘Ye must be born again’?” “Because, Madame” was his reply, “Ye must be born again!”

 The necessity of the “re-birth”, or, of “regeneration”, is a subject that must form the very fibre of the gospel that the Church of Christ is to preach in every age in which she finds herself. But, even a casual examination of the bulk of preaching with the “evangelical” church today shows that this is far from the case. Although the words of the text are used – and have been used almost continuously throughout this present century – it is sadly apparent that the heart of the matter has been inadvertently lost, or, perhaps even deliberately set aside in order to produce a form of salvation that is more acceptable to the natural man and, therefore, able to give the appearance of the Holy Spirit’s operations among us when such operations are really not in existence. 

 When our Lord Jesus Christ used those famous words with that religious leader Nicodemus, He was pointing out to him what must happen within him – not something he must cause to happen. He was not speaking about Nicodemus “believing” on Him, but He was showing him the very source of that believing that would launch him into the course of eternal life as a follower of our Lord Jesus. The apostle John, earlier on in his gospel, sets forth the whole scheme of things in an unmistakable manner. “But as many as received him,” he says, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” This is another of the modern-day oft-quoted texts, but, unfortunately it is very often quoted out of context and so, becomes a pretext. While it is absolutely true that Christ gives the “right” to become “the sons of God” to all them that “receive” Him and “believe on his name,” it is also far from the truth to imagine that this is something that they perform by themselves without the work of God’s Holy Spirit first of all being accomplished in their hearts and minds. The next verse makes that crystal clear; “But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name;” and then, comes the explanation as to how and why they “received” and “believed”: “Who were born,” says John. (Every man, and woman, and young person, and child, who truly exercises faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for their soul’s salvation, in fact, manifests life – spiritual life. But, there is no life – either physical, or spiritual – unless there is, first of all, a “birth.” This is absolutely basic. And, says John, these people who received and believed did so, because they were “born.”)

 He tells us how they were born, they were “born of God.” And in order for us to fully grasp the content of that magnificent statement, he also throws it into contrast with the methods by which they were not born. “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” They were “born of God.” Not of “blood,” he says. And this was the very thing that our Lord Himself was driving at with that man Nicodemus. No people boasted more in their “blood” than the children of Israel; “We be Abraham’s seed,” was their constant cry. But, salvation is not “of blood.” And grace does’t run in the blood. Believers’ children don’t inherit any of the parents’ graces, but their natures – their old, fallen, corrupt, rebellious nature – so that they must be “born again” – “born of God.”

 Most “evangelicals” would heartily concur with that. But, what of the next negative means of salvation that John sets before us? “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh …” You see, this doesn’t mean salvation by works – the works of the flesh; that’s not what it says; it says, “the will of the flesh.” That is, anything that the will of man in his flesh can do apart from the operations of the Spirit of God upon him. If a person claims to have “believed” in order to be “born again,” then, they have placed their life before their birth. Those who did believe, says John, were those who were “born of God.” Not of themselves – not of some “act of free will,” for the will belongs to the “flesh” of fallen man (“ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.”) And knowing this to be the case, then, our Lord “regenerates” those wayward souls so that they can believe and receive Him unto “life” eternal. If a man persists in saying that he believed in order to be born again, and not that he was born again in order that he might believe, then he has exercised that belief in the flesh, and “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” The awful indictment that rests upon such theology is vividly portrayed in that lamentation of our Lord’s over the nation of Israel: “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib, but Israel doth not know …” What an indictment on the people of God today if they fail to know and acknowledge from whence they have their spiritual beings – Who was their Father, and by whom they are born in spiritual things. “Who were born, not of … the will of the flesh …”

 “Nor of the will of man,” is the third false source of spiritual life. Not by my own works and efforts; not by the works of any other mortal upon the face of this earth. Not the persuasion of the preacher, or the methods employed. Oh, these things can do a work! Is that not the tragedy of our day? There is such a thing as a psychological conversion; practically every politician and able salesman can accomplish such a “change” in a person’s outlook, or, indeed, way of life. But this is not the work of regeneration. Oh, God uses men; of course, He does – “It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching …” But, it is especially, “through the foolishness of the thing preached …” That is, the gospel – the gospel of grace – the gospel which says to man, “Ye must be born again,” – which lays him in the dust of earth just as surely as Adam lay there until God breathed into him the breath of life and he became a living soul. He didn’t get up and walk about and then became a living soul. And says John, those who “received” Christ, and “believed on his name” did so, because they were “born of God.” “Not of blood, nor, of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” 

 Modern-day evangelicalism has confused things that differ. There is a vast difference between “conversion” and “regeneration.” In conversion we actually “see” the converted, as it were, showing forth the change in their life – turning from idols to serve the living and true God. But, this they do, because they have, first of all, been “born of God.” Just as surely as the child who takes his first struggling kicks into this massive world has been “born” into the world. The child didn’t become its own father! No more than any spiritual child of God has become his own father. The “conversion” – the “receiving,” – the “believing,” – these are the evidence of the life, but the source of the life is from “above”, not “within.” “Ye are born from above” – “Who were born … of God.”

 Then, they take up their position as “The sons of God.” Says John, “As many as receive him, to them gave he power (or right) to become the sons of God …” They weren’t the sons of God before; by nature we were all ”the children of wrath, even as other,” and we were “of our father the devil,” says our Lord. We were “born” of the devil, and the works of our father, as it says in another place, we willingly performed. But, when we “believed” on Christ we certainly were not doing “the works of our father” the devil; we were doing the “work of God.” For, says our Saviour, “This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He has sent. And those who believe on Christ are then doing the “work of God”, because they have been “born of God”, just as they did the ”work” of their father the devil, being born, by nature, of their father the devil.

 When they do this work of God – when they “believe on him whom he has sent” – then they are “formally” and “legally” adopted into the family of God – they receive “the right to be called the sons of God.” 

 Again, we are not to confuse things that differ. Just as conversion and regeneration are two different things, so adoption and regeneration are two different things. In adoption God gives us the standing of the children of God; makes us joint-heirs with Christ, who is “the firstborn among many brethren.” But, in regeneration, God gives us the nature of the children of God. He can never, ever, have us in His family - joint-heirs with His only Begotten Who was “full of grace and truth” – as we stand in our old nature full of wrath and enmity against our God in heaven. So, - and, Oh, my friends this is the glory of the grace of our God in the gospel – He changes our nature! He “regenerates” us! He causes us to be “born again” of His Holy Spirit! He gives us “life” in place of our “death” – “you hath he quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins.” And when He imparts this life, then we exercise that life by “receiving” His only begotten Son to our soul’s salvation. And then, we receive the “adoption papers”, as it were – signed, sealed, and delivered to us, so that none can take away this “right” to be a son of God. “But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 “Mr Whitefield! Why do you preach so much on ‘Ye must be born again’?” “Because, madame, ‘Ye must be born again’.” Amen! 
 “The only gospel we can own,
 Sets Jesus Christ upon His throne;
 Proclaims salvation full and free, 
 Obtained on Calvary’s rugged tree.” 

from http://www.wicketgate.co.uk/pdf/e84.pdf

God will bring you to judgment

This is a re-post. This sermonette by James Smith is excellent and SHOULD be played in every church pulpit. Sadly, it will go unnoticed by the masses....and by many 'Christians'.


the journey

We are still upon a journey, and every day brings us a stage nearer to our home. Yes, I trust it will be our home. Has not the Lord taught us to send our desires and affections thither before us? Does not our best Friend live there? If we love Him when unseen — then how shall we love Him when we shall see Him as He is, in all His glory and in all His love — when we shall be like Him and with Him forever! Yes, that will be our long home — when we enter that city, that temple, we shall go out no more. May He who has brought us thus far be our guard and guide to the last step — and enable us, when flesh and heart fail, to rejoice in Him as the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. Amen. In the mean time, may we keep this text in our view: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Your very affectionate and obliged,
John Newton, 30th September, 1798

By the grace of God I am what I am

"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful--but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life!" Revelation 21:27
If we do not exactly know the particulars of what Heaven is--then we know to a certainty what it isnot. We are sure that it is not like earth--there are no ale-houses, gambling parlors, or theaters there.

How then could those whose hearts are set upon these things--possibly be happy even in Heaven, where they would be separated forever from all that they love? Heaven must be a Hell to an unhumbled, unsanctified sinner--even if he could be admitted there. The company, the employments, the enjoyments--are of the same kind with what he despised on earth. If you admit a pig into your parlor among your friends--he would find no pleasure there. He would rather be in the sty, or wallowing in the mire in a ditch!

Well, such were some of us--yes, such were all of us once! And you, my dear friends, though you were not vile profligates like me--you were carelessly swimming down the stream of the world, and, when upon the edge of the whirlpool which would have eternally swallowed you up--He snatched you with a strong hand, set your feet upon a rock, established your goings, and has put a new song in your mouth!
"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Looking unto Jesus

Theodore Monod “Looking unto Jesus” – Hebrews 12:2 

Only three words, but in these three words is the whole secret of life.

 LOOKING UNTO JESUS In the Scriptures, to learn there what He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He desires; to find in His character our pattern, in His teachings our instruction, in His precepts our law, in His promises our support, in His person and in His work a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls. 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS Crucified, to find in His shed blood our ransom, our pardon, our peace.
 LOOKING UNTO JESUS Risen, to find in Him the righteousness which alone makes us righteous, and permits us, all unworthy as we are, to draw near with boldness, in His Name, to Him Who is His Father and our Father, His God and our God.
 LOOKING UNTO JESUS Glorified, to find in Him our Heavenly Advocate completing by His intercession the work inspired by His lovingkindness for our salvation (1Jo 2:1); Who even now is appearing for us before the face of God (Heb 9:24), the kingly Priest, the spotless Victim, continually bearing the iniquity of our holy things (Exo 28:38). 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS Revealed by the Holy Spirit, to find in constant communion with Him the cleansing of our sin-stained hearts, the illumination of our darkened spirits, the transformation of our rebel wills; enabled by Him to triumph over all attacks of the world and of the evil one, resisting their violence by Jesus our Strength, and overcoming their subtlety by Jesus our Wisdom; upheld by the sympathy of Jesus, Who was spared no temptation, and by the help of Jesus, Who yielded to none. 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS Who gives repentance as well as forgiveness of sins (Act 5:31) because He gives us the grace to recognize, to deplore, to confess, and to forsake our transgressions. 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS To receive from Him the task and the cross for each day, with the grace which is sufficient to carry the cross and to accomplish the task; the grace that enables us to be patient with His patience, active with His activity, loving with His love; never asking “What am I able for?” but rather: “What is He not able for?” and waiting for His strength which is made perfect in our weakness (2Co 12:9). 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS To go forth from ourselves and to forget ourselves; so that our darkness may flee away before the brightness of His face; so that our joys may be holy, and our sorrow restrained; that He may cast us down, and that He may raise us up; that He may afflict us, and that He may comfort us; that He may despoil us, and that He 3 may enrich us; that He may teach us to pray, and that He may answer our prayers; that while leaving us in the world, He may separate us from it, our life being hidden with Him in God, and our behaviour bearing witness to Him before men. 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS Who, having returned to the Father’s house, is engaged in preparing a place there for us; so that this joyful prospect may make us live in hope, and prepare us to die in peace, when the day shall come for us to meet this last enemy, whom He has overcome for us, whom we shall overcome through Him—so that what was once the king of terrors is today the harbinger of eternal happiness.
 LOOKING UNTO JESUS Whose certain return, at an uncertain time, is from age to age the expectation and the hope of the faithful Church, who is encouraged in her patience, watchfulness and joy by the thought that the Saviour is at hand (Phi 4:4, 5; 1Th 5:23). 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS “The Author and the Finisher of our faith,” that is to say, He Who is its pattern and its source, even as He is its object; and Who from the first step even to the last, marches at the head of the believers; so that by Him our faith may be inspired, encouraged, sustained, and led on to its supreme consummation (Heb 12:2). 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS And at nothing else, as our text expresses it in one untranslatable word (aphoroontes), which at the same time directs us to fix our gaze upon Him, and to turn it away from everything else.
 UNTO JESUS And not at ourselves, our thoughts, our reasonings, our imaginings, our inclinations, our wishes, our plans—
 UNTO JESUS And not at the world, its customs, its example, its rules, its judgments— 
UNTO JESUS And not at Satan, though he seek to terrify us by his fury, or to entice us by his flatteries. Oh! from how many useless questions we would save ourselves, from how many disturbing scruples, from how much loss of time, dangerous dallyings with evil, waste of energy, empty dreams, bitter disappointments, sorrowful struggles, and distressing falls, by looking steadily unto Jesus, and by following Him wherever He may lead us. Then we shall be too much occupied with not losing sight of the path which He marks out for us, to waste even a glance on those in which He does not think it suitable to lead us. 
UNTO JESUS And not at our creeds, no matter how evangelical they may be. The faith which saves, which sanctifies, and which comforts, is not giving assent to the doctrine of salvation; it is being united to the person of the Saviour. “It is not enough,” said Adolphe Monod, “to know about Jesus Christ, it is necessary to have Jesus Christ.” To this One may add that no one truly knows Him, if he does not first possess Him. According to the profound saying of the beloved disciple, it is in the Life there is Light, and it is in Jesus there is Life (Joh 1:4). 
  UNTO JESUS And not at our meditations and our prayers, our pious conversations and our profitable reading, the holy meetings that we attend, nor even to our taking part in the supper of the Lord. Let us faithfully use all these means of grace, but without confusing them with grace itself; and without turning our gaze away from Him Who alone makes them effectual, when, by their means, He reveals Himself to us. 
UNTO JESUS And not to our position in the Christian Church, to the family to which we belong, to our baptism, to the education which we have received, to the doctrine which we profess, to the opinion which others have formed of our piety, or to the opinion which we have formed of it ourselves. Some of those who have prophesied in the Name of the Lord Jesus will one day hear Him say: “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:22, 23); but He will confess before His Father and before His angels even the most humble of those who have looked unto Him. 
UNTO JESUS And not to our brethren, not even to the best among them and the best beloved. In following a man we run the risk of losing our way; in following Jesus we are sure of never losing our way. Besides, in putting a man between Jesus and ourselves, it will come to pass that insensibly the man will increase and Jesus will decrease; soon we no longer know how to find Jesus when we cannot find the man, and if he fails us, all fails. On the contrary, if Jesus is kept between us and our closest friend, our attachment to the person will be at the same time less enthralling and more deep; less passionate and more tender; less necessary, and more useful; an instrument of rich blessing in the hands of God when He  is pleased to make use of him; and whose absence will be a further blessing, when it may please God to dispense with him, to draw us even nearer to the only Friend who can be separated from us by “neither death nor life” (Rom 8:38, 39). 
UNTO JESUS And not at His enemies or at our own. In place of hating them and fearing them, we shall then know how to love them and to overcome them. 
UNTO JESUS And not at the obstacles which meet us in our path. As soon as we stop to consider them, they amaze us, they confuse us, they overwhelm us, incapable as we are of understanding either the reason why they are permitted, or the means by which we may overcome them. The apostle began to sink as soon as he turned to look at the waves tossed by the storm; it was while he was looking at Jesus that he walked on the waters as on a rock. The more difficult our task, the more terrifying our temptations, the more essential it is that we look only at Jesus. 
UNTO JESUS And not at our troubles, to count up their number, to reckon their weight, to find perhaps a certain strange satisfaction in tasting their bitterness. Apart from Jesus trouble does not sanctify, it hardens or it crushes. It produces not patience, but rebellion; not sympathy, but selfishness; not hope (Rom. 5:3,4) but despair. It is only under the shadow of the cross that we can appreciate the true weight of our own cross, and accept it each day from His hand, to carry it with love, with gratitude, with joy; and find in it for ourselves and for others a source of blessings. 
  UNTO JESUS And not at the dearest, the most legitimate of our earthly joys, lest we be so engrossed in them that they deprive us of the sight of the very One Who gives them to us. If we are looking at Him first of all, then it is from Him we receive these good things, made a thousand times more precious because we possess them as gifts from His loving hand, which we entrust to His keeping, to enjoy them in communion with Him, and to use them for His glory.
 UNTO JESUS And not at the instruments, whatever they may be which He employs to form the path which He has appointed for us. Looking beyond man, beyond circumstances, beyond the thousand causes so rightly called secondary, let us ascend as far as the first cause—His will. Let us ascend even to the source of this very will— His love. Then our gratitude, without being less lively towards those who do us good, will not stop at them; then in the testing day, under the most unexpected blow, the most inexplicable, the most overwhelming, we can say with the Psalmist: “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it” (Psa 39:9). And in the silence of our dumb sorrow the heavenly voice will gently reply: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (Joh 13:7). 
UNTO JESUS And not at the interests of our cause, of our party, of our church—still less at our personal interests. The single object of our life is the glory of God; if we do not make it the supreme goal of our efforts, we must deprive ourselves of His help, for His grace is only at the service of His glory. If, on the contrary, it is His glory that we seek above all, we can always count on His grace.
 UNTO JESUS And not at the sincerity of our intentions, and at the strength of our resolutions. Alas! how often the most excellent intentions have only prepared the way for the most humiliating falls. Let us stay ourselves, not on our intentions, but on His love; not on our resolutions, but on His promise.
 UNTO JESUS And not at our strength. Our strength is good only to glorify ourselves; to glorify God one must have the strength of God. 
UNTO JESUS And not at weakness. By lamenting our weakness have we ever become more strong? Let us look to Jesus, and His strength will communicate itself to our hearts, His praise will break forth from our lips. 
UNTO JESUS And not at our sins, neither at the source from which they come (Mat 15:19) nor the chastisement which they deserve. Let us look at ourselves, only to recognize how much need we have of looking to Him; and looking to Him, certainly not as if we were sinless; but on the contrary, because we are sinners, measuring the very greatness of the offence by the greatness of the sacrifice which has atoned for it and of the grace which pardons it. “For one look that we turn on ourselves,” said an eminent servant of God (Robert McCheyne), “let us turn ten upon Jesus.” “If it is very sure,” said Vinet, “that one will not lose sight of his wretched state by looking at Jesus Christ crucified—because this wretched state is, as it were, graven upon the cross—it is also very sure that in looking at one’s wretchedness one can lose sight of Jesus Christ; because the cross is not naturally graven upon the image of one’s wretchedness.” And he adds, “Look at yourselves, but only in the presence of the cross, only through Jesus Christ.” Looking at the sin only gives death; looking at Jesus gives life. That which healed the Israelite in the wilderness was not considering his wounds, but raising his eyes to the serpent of brass (Num 21:9). 
UNTO JESUS And not—do we need to say it?—at our pretence of righteousness. Ill above all who are ill is he who believes himself in health; blind above the blind he who thinks that he sees (Joh 9:41). If it is dangerous to look long at our wretchedness, which is, alas! too real; it is much more dangerous to rest complacently on imaginary merits.
 UNTO JESUS And not at the law. The law gives commands, and gives no strength to carry them out; the law always condemns, and never pardons. If we put ourselves back under the law, we take ourselves away from grace. In so far as we make our obedience the means of our salvation, we lose our peace, our joy, our strength; for we have forgotten that Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom 10:4). As soon as the law has constrained us to seek in Him our only Saviour, then also to Him only belongs the right to command our obedience: an obedience which includes nothing less than our whole heart, and our most secret thoughts, but which has ceased from being an iron yoke, and an insupportable burden, to become an easy yoke and a light burden (Mat 11:30). An obedience which He makes as delightful as it is binding; an obedience which He inspires, at the same time as He requires it, and which in very truth, is less a consequence of our salvation than it is a part of this very salvation—and, like all the rest, a free gift. 
UNTO JESUS And not at what we are doing for Him. Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master—it is possible to have the hands full and the heart empty. When occupied with our Master, we cannot forget our work; if the heart is filled with His love, how can the hands fail to be active in His service?
 UNTO JESUS And not to the apparent success of our efforts. The apparent success is not the measure of the real success; and besides, God has not told us to succeed, but to work; it is of our work that He requires an account, and not of our success— why then concern ourselves with it? It is for us to scatter the seed, for God to gather the fruit; if not today, then it will be tomorrow; if He does not employ us to gather it, then He will employ others. Even when success is granted to us, it is always dangerous to fix our attention on it: on the one hand we are tempted to take some of the credit of it to ourselves; on the other hand we thus accustom ourselves to abate our zeal when we cease to perceive its result, that is to say, at the very time when we should redouble our energy. To look at the success is to walk by sight; to look at Jesus, and to persevere in following Him and serving Him, in spite of all discouragements, is to walk by faith. 
UNTO JESUS And not to the spiritual gifts which we have already received, or which we are now receiving from Him. As to yesterday’s grace, it has passed with yesterday’s work; we can no longer make use of it, we should no longer linger over it. As to today’s grace, given for today’s work, it is entrusted to us, not to be looked at, but 11 to be used. We are not to gloat over it as a treasure, counting up our riches, but to spend it immediately, and remain poor, “Looking unto Jesus.” 
UNTO JESUS And not at the amount of sorrow that our sins make us experience, or the amount of humiliation which they produce in us. If only we are humiliated by them enough to make us no longer complacent with ourselves; if only we are troubled by them enough to make us look to Jesus, so that He may deliver us from them, that is all that He asks from us; and it is also this look which more than anything else will make our tears spring and our pride fall. And when it is given to us as to Peter, to weep bitterly (Luk 22:62). Oh! then may our tear-dimmed eyes remain more than ever directed unto Jesus; for even our repentance will become a snare to us, if we think to blot out in some measure by our tears those sins which nothing can blot out, except the blood of the Lamb of God. 
UNTO JESUS And not at the brightness of our joy, the strength of our assurance, or the warmth of our love. Otherwise, when for a little time this love seems to have grown cold, this assurance to have vanished, this joy to have failed us—either as the result of our own faithlessness, or for the trial of our faith—immediately, having lost our feelings, we think that we have lost our strength, and we allow ourselves to fall into an abyss of sorrow, even into cowardly idleness, or perhaps sinful complaints. Ah! rather let us remember that if the feelings with their sweetness, are absent, the faith with its strength remains with us. To be able always to be “abounding in the work of the Lord” (1Co 15:58), let us look steadily, not at our ever changeful hearts, but at Jesus, who is always the same. 
 12 UNTO JESUS And not at the heights of holiness to which we have attained. If no one may believe himself a child of God so long as he still finds stains in his heart, and stumblings in his life, who could taste the joy of salvation? But this joy is not bought with a price. Holiness is the fruit, not the root of our redemption. It is the work of Jesus Christ for us which reconciles us unto God; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us which renews us in His likeness. The shortcomings of a faith which is true, but not yet fully established, and bearing but little fruit, in no way lessens the fullness of the perfect work of the Saviour, nor the certainty of His unchanging promise, guaranteeing life eternal unto whomsoever trusts in Him. And so to rest in the Redeemer is the true way to obey Him; and it is only when enjoying the peace of forgiveness that the soul is strong for the conflict. If there are any who abuse this blessed truth by giving themselves over unscrupulously to spiritual idleness, imagining that they can let the faith which they think they have take the place of the holiness which they have not, they should remember this solemn warning of the Apostle Paul, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal 5:24) and that of the Apostle John, “He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1Jo 2:4) and that of the Lord Jesus Himself, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Mat 7:19). 
UNTO JESUS And not at our faith. The last device of the adversary, when he cannot make us look elsewhere, is to turn our eyes from our Saviour to our faith, and thus to discourage us if it is weak, to fill us with pride if it is strong: and either way to weaken us. For power does not come from the faith, but from the Saviour by faith. It is not looking at our look, it is “looking unto Jesus.”
 UNTO JESUS It is from Him and in Him that we learn to know, not only without danger, but for the well-being of our souls, what it is good for us to know about the world and about ourselves, our sorrows and our dangers, our resources and our victories: seeing everything in its true light, because it is He Who shows them to us, and that only at the time and in the proportion in which this knowledge will produce in us the fruits of humility and wisdom, gratitude and courage, watchfulness and prayer. All that it is desirable for us to know, the Lord Jesus will teach us; all that we do not learn from Him, it is better for us not to know. 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS As long as we remain on the earth—unto Jesus from moment to moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by memories of a past which we should leave behind us, nor by occupation with a future of which we know nothing. 
UNTO JESUS NOW, if we have never looked unto Him— 
UNTO JESUS AFRESH, if we have ceased doing so— 
UNTO JESUS ONLY, UNTO JESUS STILL, UNTO JESUS ALWAYS, With a gaze more and more constant, more and more confident, “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18), and thus awaiting the hour when he will call us to pass from earth to Heaven, and 14 from time to eternity—the promised hour, the blessed hour, when at last “we shall be like Him, for we shall Him as He is” (1Jo 3:2). ___________________

Friday, June 23, 2017

We deserve judgment

Have we not therefore cause to say, with the Ninevites, “Who can tell?” Is it not a peradventure? Is there more than a possibility, that we may yet obtain mercy? If our sins are no less numerous, no less of a scarlet dye, than those of other nations, and exceedingly aggravated beyond theirs by being committed against clearer light and the distinguished advantages we have long enjoyed; if we I have not only transgressed the laws of God in common with others, but daringly trampled upon the gracious tenders of His forgiveness, which He has long continued to propose to us with a frequency and energy almost peculiar to ourselves; if all the day long He has stretched out His hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people (Rom 10:12), and hitherto, almost in vain; if neither the tokens of His displeasure nor the declarations of His love have made a suitable impression upon our minds—who can tell if He will yet be entreated? May we not fear, lest He should say, My Spirit shall strive with them no more (Gen 6:3). They are joined to their idols; let them alone? “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear” (Isa 1:15). 
Where are now the mighty empires, which were once thought rooted and established as the everlasting mountains? They have disappeared like the mists upon the mountaintops. Nothing of them remains but their names. They perished and their memorials have almost perished with them. The patience of God bore with them for a time, until the purposes for which He raised them up were answered; but when the measure of their iniquity was full, they passed away and were dispersed, like foam upon the waters. What security have we from such a catastrophe? Or what could we answer if God should put that question to us, “Shall I not visit for these things...and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this” (Jer 5:9)? 
Where are now the churches which once flourished in Greece and Asia Minor? When the Apostle Paul wrote to the former, and when our Lord indicted his epistles to the latter, most of them were in a prosperous state. If there ever was a time when the commendations given to them were applicable to professors of the Gospel in our land, I fear we can hardly claim them at present.
 Can it be justly said of us, that our faith and love are every where spoken of (Rom 1:8; 1Th 1:7), and that we are examples to all that believe? That our works and service and faith and patience are known and the last to be more than the first (Rev 2:19)? Or 8 rather, may it not be said of too many, that while they profess to believe in God, in works they deny Him (Ti 1:16)? That they are neither hot nor cold, that they have a name to live, and are dead, that they have at least forgotten their first love (Rev 3:15- 16; 2:4)? When these defects and declensions began to prevail in the first churches, the Lord admonished and warned them; but instead of watching and repenting, they gradually became more remiss. At length their glory departed, and their candlesticks were removed out of their places (Rev 2:5). Many regions which once rejoiced in the light of the Gospel have been long over spread with Islamic darkness. 
Let us not trust in outward privileges, nor rest in a form of godliness destitute of the power. It will be in vain to say, “The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these” (Jer 7:4), if the Lord of the temple should depart from us. When the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines, they carried the ark of the Lord with them to battle (1Sa 4:3). But God disappointed their vain confidence. He delivered the ark of His glory into the hands of their enemies to teach them, and to teach us, that formal hypocritical worshippers have no good ground to hope for His protection.
 Alas, then, who can tell? Appearances are very dark at present. Besides what we may expect or fear from the rage and madness of our foreign enemies, we have much to apprehend at home. A spirit of discord has gone forth. Jeshurun has waxed fat, and kicked (Deu 32:15). Many seem weary of liberty, peace, and order. Our happy constitution, our mild government, our many privileges, admired by other nations, are despised and depreciated among ourselves—not only by the thoughtless and licentious, and those who, having little to lose, may promise themselves a possibility of gain in a time of disturbance and confusion, but they are abetted and instigated by persons of sense, character, and even of religion. I should be quite at a loss to account for this, if I did not consider it as a token of the Lord’s displeasure. When He withdraws His blessing, no union can long subsist! 
“Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things” (Deu 28:47-48). These words of Moses to rebellious Israel emphatically describe the former and the present state of many nations who have been spoiled, insulted, and glad if they could escape (great numbers could not so escape) with the loss of their all, and at the peril of their lives, to a more hospitable shore. May their sufferings remind us of our deserts! Who can tell if the Lord may yet be merciful unto us, and exempt us from similar calamities!   

John Newton

True believers are still sinners

And now—oh, for a glance of what Isaiah saw, and has described (Isa 6:1-4)! Oh, that we, by the power of that faith which is the evidence of things unseen, could behold the glory of the Lord filling this house; that we could realize the presence and the attitude of their attendant angels! They cover their faces and their feet with their wings, as overpowered by the beams of His majesty, and conscious, if not of defilement like us, yet of unavoidable inability as creatures to render Him the whole of that praise and homage which are justly due to Him. Oh, that by faith we could enter into the spirit of their ascription, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa 6:3)! 

If we were all thus affected, as the prophet was, surely each one would adopt the prophet’s language. Or if a comfortable hope in the Gospel prevented us from crying out, “Woe is me! for I am undone!” (Isa 6:5a), we should at least say, as the Hebrew word might be so rendered, “I am silenced, I am struck dumb!” I am overwhelmed with confusion and shame; for “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isa 6:5b). If we have a degree of this impression, we shall not be at leisure to perplex our selves concerning men or measures, the second causes, or immediate instruments of our calamities. The evil of sin, contrasted with the holiness and glory of God, will engross our thoughts. And we shall ascribe all the troubles we either feel or fear to our own sins, and the sins of those among whom we dwell. 

1. Ourselves 
Let us first look at home. “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa 6:5), i.e., I am a sinner. This confession suits us and is readily made by all who know themselves. The Lord said of the Amorites at a certain period, “Their iniquity is not yet full” (Gen 15:16)! I hope the measure of our iniquity is not yet full, but it is filling every day, and we are all daily contributing to fill it. True believers, though by grace delivered from the reigning power of sin, are still sinners. In many things we offend all, in thought, word, and deed. We are now called upon to humble ourselves before God, for the sins of our ignorance, and for the more aggravated sins we have committed against light and experience—for those personal sins, the record of which is only known to God and our consciences; for the defects and defilements of our best services; for our great and manifold failures in the discharge of our relative duties, as parents, children, husbands, wives, masters, or servants, and as members of the community. Our dullness in the ways of God; our alertness in the pursuit of our own will and way; our differences to what concerns His glory, compared with the quickness of our apprehensions when our own temporal interests are affected—are so many proofs of our ingratitude and depravity. The sins of the Lord’s own people are so many, and so heightened by the consideration of His known goodness, that if He was to enter into judgment with them only, they could offer no other plea than that which He has mercifully provided for them: “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psa 130:3-4).

2. Others 
It is easy to declaim against the wickedness of the times. But only they who are duly affected with the multitude and magnitude of their own sins can be competent judges of what the prophet meant or felt when he said, “I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa 6:5). We ought to be no less concerned (though in a different manner) for the sins of those among whom we dwell, than for our own. We shall be so, if with the eyes of our mind we behold the King, the Lord of hosts, because His glory, which should be the dearest object to our hearts, is dishonored by them...
Will not the Lord’s words to Israel apply with equal propriety to us? “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes” (Isa 5:4)? How is the blessed Gospel improved among us? This would be a heavy day to me, if I did not believe and know that there are those among our various denominations who prize and adorn it. If these could be all assembled in one place, I hope they would be found a very considerable number; and for their sakes, and in answer to their prayers, I humbly trust that mercy will still be afforded to us. But compared with the multitudes who reject, despise, or dishonor it, I fear they are very few. Too many hate it with a bitter hatred, and exert all their influence to oppose and suppress it. The great doctrines of the Reformation are treated with contempt; and both they who preach and they who espouse them are considered as visionaries or hypocrites, knaves or fools. The Gospel of God is shunned as a pestilence, or complained of as a burden, almost wherever it is known. Wisdom is indeed justified by all her children (Luk 7:35). The Gospel is the power of God to the salvation of them that believe (Rom 1:16). It recalls them from error, from wickedness, and from misery; guides their feet into the ways of peace; and teaches them to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world. But in the number of those who profess to receive it, there are too many who confirm and increase the prejudices of those who speak against what they knew not. Alas! What extravagant opinions, what fierce dissensions, what loose conversations, what open offences, may be found among many who would be thought professors of that Gospel which only breathes the spirit of holiness, love, and peace!
What then must be the state of those who avowedly live without God in the world? I need not enlarge upon this painful subject, which forces itself upon the mind if we only walk the streets or look into the newspaper. It is not necessary to inform you that infidelity, licentiousness, perjury, profaneness, and the neglect and contempt of God’s Sabbaths and worship abound. The laws of God, and the laws of the land, so far as their object is to enforce the observance of His commands, are openly and customarily violated in every rank of life. In a day when the Lord of hosts calls to weeping and mourning, thoughtless security, dissipation, and riot are characteristics of our national spirit. The loss of public spirit and that impatience of subordination, so generally observable, so widely diffused, which are the consequences of our sins against God, are, in themselves, moral causes sufficient to ruin the nation, unless His mercy interposes in our behalf.


John Newton

The imminent danger

The rivers of human blood, and all the calamities and horror which overspread a great part of the continent, the distant report of which is sufficient to make our ears tingle, are all to be ascribed to this cause. God is not acknowledged—yea, in some places, He has been formally disowned and renounced. Therefore men are left to themselves, their furious passions are unchained, and they are given up, without restraint, to the way of their own hearts. A more dreadful judgment than this cannot be inflicted on this side of hell. 

And though we are still favored with peace at home, the dreadful storm is at no great distance; it seems to move our way, and we have reason to fear it may burst upon us. But I would be thankful for the appointment of this day, for I should think the prospect dark indeed, if I did not rely on the Lord’s gracious attention to the united prayers of those who fear and trust Him, and who know it is equally easy for Him to save or to destroy, by many or by few (1Sa 14:6). Our fleets and armies may be well appointed, and well commanded; but without His blessing upon our councils and enterprises, they will be unable to defend us. He can take wisdom from the wise, and courage from the bold, in the moment when they are most needed. He can disable our forces by sickness or dissension. And by His mighty wind, He can dash our ships to pieces against the rocks, against each other, or sink them as lead in the mighty waters. “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not” (Lam 3:37)? 

John Newton, from http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/2514/7189/6559/idao.pdf