Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, 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.” 


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

More than a Calvinist

John Newton (1725-1807) 

To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege. But they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too lowly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them. We see few controversial writings, however excellent in other respects, but are tinctured with this spirit of self-superiority; and they who are not called to this service (of writing), if they are attentive to what passes in their hearts, may feel it working within them upon a thousand occasions; though so far as it prevails, it brings forcibly home to ourselves the charge of ignorance and inconsistency, which we are so ready to fix upon our opponents. 

I know nothing as a means more likely to correct this evil, than a serious consideration of the amazing difference between our acquired judgment and our actual experience, or, in other words, how little influence our knowledge and judgment have upon our own conduct. This may confirm to us the truth and propriety of the apostle’s observation, “If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (1Co 8:2). Not that we are bound to be insensible that the Lord has taught us what we were once ignorant of; nor is it possible that we should be so; yet because, if we estimate our knowledge by its effects, and value it no farther than it is experimental and operative (which is the proper standard whereby to try it), we shall find it so faint and feeble as hardly to deserve the name. 

How firmly, for instance, are we persuaded that God is omnipresent! Great as the difficulties may be which attend our conceptions of this point, the truth itself is controverted by few. It is generally acknowledged by unawakened persons (and, I may add, too frequently known even by believers), as if they knew it not. If the eyes of the Lord are in every place, how strong a guard should this thought be upon the “conduct” of those who profess to hear Him! We know how we are often affected when in the presence of a “fellow worm” (Job 25:6) if he is one on whom we depend or who is considerably our superior in life, how careful we are to compose our behavior, and to avoid whatever might be deemed improper or offensive! Is it not strange that those who have taken their ideas of the divine majesty, holiness, and purity from the Scriptures, and are not wholly insensible of their inexpressible obligations to regulate all they say or do by His precepts, should upon many occasions be betrayed into improprieties of behavior from which the presence of a nobleman or prince would have effectually restrained them, yes, sometimes perhaps even the presence of a child? 

Even in the exercise of “prayer,” by which we profess to draw near the Lord, the consideration that His eye is upon us has little power to engage our attention, or prevent our thoughts from wandering like the fool’s eye to the ends of the earth. What should we think of a person who, being admitted into the king’s presence, upon business of the greatest importance, should break off in the midst of his address to pursue a butterfly? Could such an instance of weakness be met with, it would be but a faint emblem of the inconsistencies with which they who are acquainted with their own hearts can often charge themselves in prayer. 

They are not wholly ignorant in what a frame of spirit it becomes a needy dependent sinner to approach that God, before Whom the angels are represented as veiling their faces. Yet, in defiance of their better judgment, their attention is diverted from Him with Whom they have to do, to the merest trifles. They are not able to realize that Presence with which they believe themselves to be surrounded, but speak as if they were speaking into the air. Further, if our sense that “God is always present” was in any good measure answerable to the conviction of our judgment, would it not be an effectual preservative from the many importunate though groundless fears with which we are harassed! 

He says, “Fear not, I am with you” (Isa 43:5); He promises to be a shield and a guard to those who put their trust in Him. Yet though we profess to believe His word and to hope that He is our protector, we seldom think ourselves safe, even in the path of duty, a moment longer than danger is kept out of our view. Little reason have we to value ourselves upon our knowledge of this indisputable truth, when it has no more effective and habitual influence upon our conduct. 

The doctrine of “God’s sovereignty” likewise, though not so generally owned as God’s omnipresence, is no less fully assented to by those who are called Calvinists. We zealously contend for this point in our debates with the Arminians, and are ready to wonder that any should be hardy enough to dispute the Creator’s right to do what He will with His own. While we are only engaged in defense of the election of grace, and have a comfortable hope that we are ourselves of that number, we seem so convinced by the arguments the Scripture affords us in support of the truth, that we can hardly forbear charging our adversaries with perverse obstinacy and pride for opposing it. 

Undoubtedly the ground of this opposition lies in the pride of the human heart, but this evil principle is not confined to any party, and occasions frequently arise when they who contend for the divine sovereignty are little more practically influenced by it than their opponents. This humiliating doctrine concludes as strongly for submission to the will of God, under every circumstance of life, as it does for our acquiescing in His purpose to have mercy. But, alas! How often do we find ourselves utterly unable to apply it, so as to reconcile our spirits to those afflictions which He is pleased to allot us.

So far as we are enabled to say, when we are exercised with poverty or heavy losses or crosses, “I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because You have done it,”—so far, and no farther, are we truly convinced that God has a sovereign right to dispose of us and all our concerns as He pleases.  

How often, and how justly at such seasons, might the argument we offer to others, as sufficient to silence all their objections be retorted upon ourselves: “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom 9:20)—a plain proof that our knowledge is more notional than experimental.   What an inconsistency!—that while we think God is just and righteous in withholding from others the things which pertain to their everlasting peace, we should find it so hard to submit to His dispensations to ourselves in matters of unspeakably less importance! 

But the Lord’s appointments to those who fear Him are not only sovereign, but wise and gracious. He has connected their good with His own glory, and is engaged by promise to make all things work together for their advantage (Rom 8:28-29). He chooses for His people better than they could choose for themselves—if they are in heaviness, there is a need-be for it, and He withholds nothing from them but what upon the whole it is better they should be without. Thus the Scriptures teach, and thus we profess to believe.

 Furnished with these principles, we are at no loss to suggest motives of patience and consolation to our brethren that are afflicted. We can assure them, without hesitation, that if they are interested in the promises, their concerns are in safe hands; that the things which at present are not joyous but grievous, shall in due season yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness, and that their trials are as certainly mercies as their comforts (Heb 12:6-13). From the history of Joseph, David, Job, and other instances recorded in Scriptures, we can prove to them that, notwithstanding any present dark appearances, it shall certainly be well with the righteous; that God can and will make crooked things straight (Luk 3:5); and that He often produces the greatest good from those events which we are apt to look upon as evil. From hence we can infer, not only the sinfulness, but the folly of finding fault with any of His dispensations4 . We can tell them, that at the worst the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed (Rom 8:18); and that therefore, under the greatest pressures, they should so weep as those who expect in a little time to have all their tears wiped away (Rev 7:17). 

But when the case is our own, when we are troubled on every side, or touched in the tenderest part, how difficult it is to feel the force of these reasonings, though we know they are true to a demonstration! Then, unless we are endued with fresh strength from on high, we are as liable to complain and despond as if we thought our afflictions sprang out of the ground, and the Lord had forgotten to be gracious.

 I might proceed to show the difference between our judgment when most enlightened, and our actual experience, with respect to every spiritual truth. We know there is no proportion between time and eternity, between God and the creature, the favor of the Lord and the favor or the frowns of men; and yet often, when these things are brought into close competition, we are sorely put to it to keep steadfast in the path of duty. Nay, without new supplies of grace we should certainly fail in the time of trial, and our knowledge would have no other effect than to render our guilt more inexcusable. 

 We seem to be sure that we are weak, sinful, fallible creatures, as we are—that we exist, and yet we are prone to act as if we were wise and good. In a word, we cannot deny that a great part of our knowledge is, as I have described it, like the light of the moon, destitute of heat and influence; and yet we can hardly help thinking of ourselves too highly upon the account of it.

 May we not say with the Psalmist, “Lord, what is man?” (Psa 8:4)! Yes, what an enigma, what a poor inconsistent creature is a believer! He knows the Lord; he knows himself. His understanding is enlightened to apprehend and contemplate the great mysteries of the Gospel. He has just ideas of the evil of sin, the vanity of the world, the beauties of holiness, and the nature of true happiness. He was once “darkness, but now [he is] light in the Lord” (Eph 5:8). He has access to God by Jesus Christ; to Whom he is united, and in Whom he lives by faith. While the principles he has received are enlivened by the agency of the Holy Spirit, he can do all things (Phi 4:13). He is humble, gentle, patient, watchful, faithful. He rejoices in afflictions, triumphs over temptations, lives upon the foretastes of eternal glory, and counts not his life dear, so he may glorify God his Savior, and finish his course with joy (Act 20:24). But his strength is not his own; he is absolutely dependent, and is still encompassed with infirmities, and burdened with a depraved nature.

If the Lord withdraws His power, He becomes weak as any other man, and drops as a stone sinks to the earth by its own weight. His inherent knowledge may be compared to the windows of a house, which can transmit the light but cannot retain it. Without renewed and continual communications from the Spirit of grace, he is unable to withstand the smallest temptation, to endure the slightest trial, to perform the least service in a due manner, or even to think a good thought. He knows this, and yet he too often forgets it. But the Lord reminds him of it frequently, by suspending that assistance without which he can do nothing (Joh 15:5). Then he feels what he is, and is easily prevailed upon to act in contradiction to his better judgment. This repeated experience of his own weakness teaches him by degrees where his strength lies—that it is not in any thing he has already attained, or can call his own, but the grace, power, and faithfulness of his Saviour. He learns to cease from his own understanding (Pro 3:5-6), to be ashamed of his best endeavors, to abhor himself in dust and ashes (Job 42:6), and to glory only in the Lord (Jer 9:23-24).

  From hence we may observe, that believers who have the most knowledge, are not therefore necessarily the most spiritual! Some may and do walk more honorably and 5 more comfortably with two talents, than others with five. He who experimentally knows his own weakness and depends simply upon the Lord, will surely thrive, though his acquired attainments and abilities may be but small. And he who has the greatest gifts, the clearest judgment, and the most extensive knowledge, if he indulges high thoughts of his advantages, is in imminent danger of mistaking and falling at every step; for the Lord will allow none whom He loves to boast in themselves. He will guide the meek with His eyes, and fill the hungry with good things; but the rich He sends empty away (Luk 1:53)). It is an invariable maxim in His kingdom, that whosoever exalts himself, shall be abased; but he that humbles himself, shall be exalted (Luk 18:14).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The world wants you

Is God really all that sovereign?

Many have taken in hand to expound upon this attribute of God. A W Pink has two works, "The Attributes of God" and "The Sovereignty of God" where he spares no words to explain what men so readily rebel against. Both are filled with Scripture and impeccable arguments that the infinite God must also be infinitely Sovereign. Sadly, Pink's books and our brains are incapable of fully understanding the scope of His Sovereignty, but the Holy Spirit has shown His people enough so that we can know all that is necessary for us to know while we live on this earth. Man's problem is rebellion. Beginning with Adam and quickly moving to Cain, we see the "gospel according to Cain" alive and thriving in "Christian" circles today. It goes something like this: "I will worship You in the manner I choose and You will accept it. I will live my life in self-indulgence and You bring me to Your 'Heaven' when I die." In Cain's "gospel" God takes orders from His creation and is obedient to their demands. No where in Scripture is there the slightest hint of this lunacy, but this 'gospel' is preached from the majority of pulpits every Sunday.

The very definition of 'sovereignty' must include all things, everywhere, for all time and beyond, otherwise it is a vacuous, meaningless term. The Creation tells us this (Rom. 1:20-23) but the created ones would rather rebel than submit. According to these few verses what can be seen with naked eye is enough to show man who the Creator is and that He alone is worthy of worship. With modern technology man's knowledge is expanded to see farther than ever before, from the most minute of objects under the microscope to the ever expanding vastness of the universe, God's Attributes of Creation and Sovereignty are on full display. It's been twenty years or so since the first Hubble Deep Field revealed tens of thousands of galaxies in an otherwise dark spot in space. A few years later the same experiment yielded the same result, more unknown galaxies. Today it is estimated that there are trillions of galaxies containing billions of stars each and yet our brilliant scientists still suppress the truth of Creation and it's Creator and opt for the mystery of some 'big bang' (for which there is zero evidence) instead of humbling themselves and giving their Creator the credit for His work.

The current 'religious scene' is no better, in fact it is much worse. If a person does not have a solid understanding of the Sovereignty of God he will not be able to get much, if anything, right concerning the Gospel. All aberrant doctrine stems from this one point: "God is not who He claims to be, He is not in charge, and I will do as I please"---the gospel of Cain 2.0. In Exodus we find that God hardened Pharaoh's more than once to accomplish His purpose. Today' pulpit liars will say that it was Pharaoh's choice and not the sovereign hand of God that hardened his heart. By doing so God is de-throned and man is the new supreme. From such heretical teaching comes the idea that man can make his own choice as to whether he is saved or not. Bottom line, man chooses God first, not God chooses man first. This is a direct denial of John 15:16 and a not-so-backdoor effort to call Jesus a lair. Such thinking also denies John 6:44 and Acts 13:48 along with hundreds of other verses that teach that God is the only one who does the choosing. It's bad enough that this is freely and widely taught catching many in it's appeal for a man to be captain of his own fate. For those chosen by God for salvation this manmade obstacle is readily overcome by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures. Some may take longer than others to realize the error of this teaching, but it will be accomplished. The real problem for most who hold this doctrine of "free-will" salvation is that they know better but have had their heart hardened to teach this lie, from which there is no escape except by the grace of God. They, too, suppress the truth in unrighteousness and worship & serve the creature rather than the Creator. From this one false doctrine we have the fact of  'church life' today: The churches, the pastor, the people worship themselves and not the God whom they purport to serve. The Church of Laodicea is thriving right under our nose and few there be that know it.

Isaiah 6:9 & 10 is oft repeated in the New Testament. This is another verse that is passed over because it does not conform to the idea that man is the sovereign one. John 12:37-40 is an eye opener. Verse 39 says "Therefore they could not believe..." COULD NOT BELIEVE! Who dares to speak to this from a pulpit today? Why could they not believe? Verse 40: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts..." [Just like Pharaoh] Why? Simply because they were not chosen! Indeed a hard pill to swallow, but when it is ingested it destroys the pride of "free-will salvation" by humbling a rebellious heart and making the Grace and Goodness of God all the more precious! If the God one claims to serve is not the Sovereign of all, then that person serves himself and not the God revealed in Scripture. Those who are an authentic child of God know full well that they had nothing to do with the salvation He has granted them. What does the memory of the day you were saved produce in your heart? Humility or Pride? Are you so proud that walked the isle and prayed the prayer and joined the church? Or do you find your heart humbled and rejoicing at the same time because God has worked the miracle of the new birth in you? May it please the Lord to open our eyes!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sin is evil

 Sin works contrary to God, and it is contrary to God's works — and is called the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). All God's works were exceedingly good — and beautiful even to admiration. But the works of sin are deformed and monstrously ugly — for it works disorder, confusion, and everything that is abominable. Sin may be arraigned for all the mischiefs and villainies which have been done in the world. Sin is . . .
the master of rebellion,
the author of sedition,
the builder of Babel,
the troubler of all mankind.
So contrary is sin to the works of God, that it sought and still seeks to undo all that God does — that there might be no seed, nor name, nor root left him in the earth. Everything works according to its nature — as the root is, so is the fruit; and thus every tree is known, whether it is a good tree or a bad (Matthew 7:17-I8). God is good — and does good (Psalm 119:68). Sin is evil — and does evil — indeed, it does nothing else. So sin and its works are contrary to God and his works.

Excerpt from Ralph Venning's plague of plagues

Sin is contrary to all the NAMES and ATTRIBUTES of God

 Sin sets itself in opposition to them all.
(1) Sin deposes the sovereignty of God as much as in it lies. Sin will not tolerate that the King of kings should be on the throne, and govern this world which he has made. It was by this instinct that Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know no Lord above me — and I will not let Israel go!" (Exodus 5:2). The voice and language of sin is, "Our lips are our own — who is Lord over us?" (Psalm 12:4). It was from hence that the Jews of old said, "We are lords — we will come no more to you!" (Jeremiah 2:31). Thus sin attempts to dethrone God.
(2) Sin denies God's all-sufficiency. As if there were not contentment and satisfaction enough to be had in the enjoyment of God — but that vanity and wickedness had more of pleasure and profit than God, whose ways are all pleasantness, and whose service is the health of man! Every prodigal who leaves the Father's house says in effect: It is better to be elsewhere!
(3) Sin challenges the justice of God, and dares God to do his worst (Malachi 2:17). Sin provokes the Lord to jealousy, and tempts him to wrath.
(4) Sin disowns God's omniscience. Pooh! they say, God does not see, nor does the most High regard.
(5) Sin despises the riches of God's goodness (Romans 2:4).
(6) Sin turns God's grace into a license for sin (Jude 4). It will make bold with God, and sin because grace abounds.
In short, sin . . .
is the dare of God's justice,
the rape of his mercy,
the jeer of his patience,
the slight of his power,
the contempt of his love —
as John Bunyan prettily expresses this ugly thing.
We may go on and say that sin is . . .
the upbraiding of his providence (Psalm 50),
the scoff of his promise (2 Peter 3:3-4), and
the reproach of his wisdom (Isaiah 29:16).
As is said of the Man of Sin (that is who is made up of sin) — sin opposes and exalts itself above all that is called God (and above all that God is called), so that it as God sits in the temple of God, showing itself as if it were God (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

excerpt from Ralph Venning's plague of plagues

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fools mock

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!" 1669)

"Fools mock at sin!" Proverbs 14:9 

Those who mock at sin, are worse than fools and madmen!

Tell them, as Lot told his sons-in-law of the danger and judgments which hang over their head--and, as with Lot, you seem to them as one who jokes. Genesis 19:14. They laugh at it, as if God were not in earnest when He threatens sinners--and as if those who preach against sin were deranged. 

"To do evil, is like sport to a fool!" Proverbs 10:23. There are some who sport themselves on their way to Hell--as if sin were but a recreation! What fools are they--who laugh at their own folly and destruction! It is a devilish nature in us, to mock at the calamity of others--but to laugh at our owncalamity, seems to be worse than devilish!

There are many, too many, who mourn under affliction--yet laugh over their sins! They sigh and weep when they feel any burden on their body--but make merry at that which destroys their soul! Can anything be more mad than this--to laugh, mock and make sport at that which eternally wrongs and damns their own souls!

The wicked laugh over their sin now. But if they do not repent--then they will weep forever in Hell over it!

Holiness is the beauty of earth and Heaven--without which we cannot live well on earth, nor shall ever live in Heaven. Certainly those who jeer and scoff at holiness, will be turned into Hell.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Love the sinner, hate the sin?

The title of this post is a very popular phrase...too bad it isn't found anywhere in the Bible. This is from Ralph Venning, I think it proves this popular phrase to be unbiblical....

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!" 1669)

"The wicked and the one who loves violence--His soul hates!" Psalm 11:5 

God hates man for sin! It is not only sin, but sinners that God hates--and that for sin! It is said of God, that He hates the workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5); not only the works of iniquity--but the workers of it.

It is because of sin, that the merciful God says, "Their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor!" Isaiah 27:11 

This is the worst that can be spoken of the venom of sin, that in a sense, and to speak after the manner of men--it has put hatred into God Himself! Sin has made the Lord hate and destroy His own workmanship!

The full sermon is available at