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, August 20, 2017

Discernment Part 2

There are a few other facets of discernment that should be examined. The first is becoming more and more necessary as time moves in the direction of the "end times." That is this: are we supposed to take a person at their word that they are "Christian" just because they claim to be one while their life betrays their claim? There are multitudes that would say 'yes', but the correct answer is NO. The most glaring examples can be found in those who have been 'in the game' a long time, have a track record of 'faithful service' to the 'church' and as they claim, to the Lord Jesus. But when their true self emerges from the public fa├žade and false doctrine begins to be main topic something is dreadfully wrong. Yet in spite of all the evidence most will say that Mr. XYZ is an errant brother who needs our prayers. This evidence is nearly always the very words that come from the false prophet's mouth, Matt. 12:36 & 37. Most of the time this verse (36) is used effectively to shut the mouth of those that dare to expose the false prophet for what he is. Sad. Those that dare to continue to hold their feet to the fire will be vilified, lied about, attempts are made to manipulate away from the truth by various and stealthy means, and they will have their character, credentials as a believer, and their worthiness to even be allowed to speak attacked. This is not just the world of the internet, but these same tactics are used in face to face "showdowns" with false prophets. Being able to spot one of these types is essential to a well grounded defense of the faith and the sooner the enemy is known, the better. It is never a godly act to excuse blatant false doctrine of another person because they claim to be "saved", or because they have "years of faithful service" under their belt, or because they are revered and well liked by others in the 'church'. To do so in the face of unmistakable false doctrine is a mockery of the Lord Jesus. It is better not to enter the world of discernment if the intent is to give a pass to every aberrant doctrine and it's teacher. Christ never taught such a thing as is exemplified by His dealings with the Pharisees and others in His day. No doubt many have been 'planted' on the internet for this exact purpose.

The second matter at hand is doctrine. What is it that you believe---exactly? Can you spell it out? Is it fixed in your mind and heart? Is it so firmly fixed that you are not carried about with every wind of doctrine? It should be; it better be, and not just to be able to 'discern' but to live in the days that are coming up fast upon the genuine believer. There are too many examples to deal with here in this space, but two are offered for your consideration. 1) Was it possible for the Lord Jesus to have committed sin while on the earth in His human body? Please stop and think about it before reading further. This was first introduced to me less than a year after the Lord saved me by the teacher of a "Precept" course authored by Kay Arthur. At first I did not know how to answer the man, but KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the answer was NO. Not being able to produce a satisfactory argument against the (false) teacher's statements made me dig into the Word for the answer, and yes, the answer is as plain as day, it was a huge NO beyond all doubt. The Spirit of God will most definitely lead His children through the Word in all matters pertaining to this life. It is uncommon to find anyone who would bring up this subject; it was offered as an example of one possible 'doctrinal dilemma', if you cannot make the case for your answer now would be a good time to delve into the Word. The real world example before every Christian on an almost daily basis is this: does God save a man by grace or through the cooperative act of a man's "free-will?" Worse yet, is there some middle ground where both doctrines are deemed true? The doctrine of "free-will" is the root of all false doctrine ever perpetrated upon man; it began in the Garden with Adam and spread to Cain in short fashion and now is in every "church" on this planet. Few there be who actually believe the Doctrines of Grace and fewer still who faithfully proclaim them. The Arminian/Free-Will (AFW) notion of salvation can boast zero Scriptural support as the adherents twist, manipulate, and mutilate Scripture to convince the unlearned of the "truth" of their "gospel." The AFW is the basis for nearly all other false doctrine, it exhibits pure hatred and disdain for Word as well as the Trinity. As with all false doctrine it exalts itself above the Majesty and Sovereignty of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Holding to the AFW view automatically disqualifies anyone from being able to understand Scripture, it produces a double mindedness making one unstable in all his ways, it places the ego above the Sovereign choice (Election) of God, and causes the believer of this false doctrine to call God, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit a liar on too many levels to contemplate.

To be effective in your efforts to counter this onslaught from hell, you must know the Scriptures from cover to cover. This takes time, years, a life time to come to the place where the 'milk' of the Word gives way to 'strong meat' where your senses are exercised to discern both good and evil---Heb. 5:14. The heart of discernment IS the Word of God; know it, love it, live it, believe it.

God help us to be good and faithful servants.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Discernment

To write an 'exhaustive treatise' on this subject is beyond my capabilities, but a few observations from the past thirteen or so years since the Lord saved me would be in order. The more I look at 'discernment' the more I see where it is (or should be) in every facet of a believer's life; it is not optional, but mandatory---for your own sake. Many that claim to be able to biblically discern a matter fall far short of what it really means to discern the times, biblical truth vs. error, faithful teacher of the Word and those that are mere charlatans, and lastly the spirit within a person. It is not a difficult thing to discern a matter or even a person when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, mind, heart, and ears to the truth of whatever/whoever is before us. And here lies the 'rub' was it the Holy Spirit 'speaking to us or not? The answer is simple: Heb. 4:12 "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." May it never become a 'common thing' the way the Holy Spirit does His work in us, bringing Scripture to our memory and correlating seemingly unrelated verses to open our eyes to the glories of our Savior. This is the first key to biblical discernment: the glories of our Savior. How will anyone ever spot the false when the True is not known? Hard? No, impossible. Many claim to be able to 'discern' and some go so far as to claim to have the 'gift of discernment' (1 Cor. 12:10). To be sure, if anyone can biblically discern it is a gift from God.

There are a few common traits that the modern day 'discernment ministries' share. They are highly selective in who/what they speak about. They may be correct in their assessment of the person, church, or ministry involved, but mysteriously leave out their favorite speaker even though the evidence demands a detailed investigation. They will defend their "golden boy/gal preacher" to the death and exhibit fanatical partiality almost to the point where they would include 'partiality' in the list of the Attributes of God. They can't even discern their own sin and yet they expect their followers to hang on their every word as if inspired by the Holy Spirit. Has God ever been partial in His dealings with anyone? NEVER. James 2:1-4 & 9; James 3:17; 1 Tim. 5:17-22. Being partial for one over another involves personalities which is never a criteria in God's election of the redeemed, Rom. 9:9-16. David was a man "after God's own heart" (1 Sam. 13:14) but was he shown partiality from God after he repented of the sins of adultery and murder? He was not, but rather suffered the EARTHLY consequences of his actions (Gal. 6:7). Gen. 4:4 & 5 tells us that God 'respected' Abel because of the sacrifice he brought to God, not because of his person; conversely, God had no 'respect' for Cain because of the 'sacrifice' he brought to God. "For there is no respect of persons with God" Rom. 2:11. It cannot be more plainly stated, even for the blind and deaf.

Another common trait is their use of the "love card" where one is only permitted to go so far when revealing the evils of so called 'ministers of the (g)ospel.' Here is where duplicity is seen also. James 1:8 "...a double minded man, unstable in all his ways." This ties in with first trait of partiality. It is a common practice of all false teachers to encrust their lies in layers of 'truth' and freely quote their bible nearly always using the ESV, NASB, or the NIV, all of which have been shown to change the Word of God into the word of their god. All too often these "discernment ministries" will lace their speech with clever innuendoes that leave a question mark on the brain of the hearer/reader: did God really mean that? This they do at the direction of their father the devil who first said to Eve "Yea, hath God said..." (Gen. 3:1) and he was successful in deceiving Eve (1 Tim. 2:14) as he is today in deceiving the masses with the same tactic.

There are many other satanic tactics used by these self-proclaimed 'champions of truth.' Guilt transference is rampant where the one that raises issues other than the 'accepted' ones is virtually 'shouted down', insulted, and accused of doing precisely what those accusing him are guilty of themselves. The use of false doctrine is always present, some 'charismatic'  in nature, others denying the Sovereignty of the God they claim to love and serve by teaching that a man's "free-will" is an integral and indisposable part of "salvation" making a mockery of His Election of all believers and even that of Christ Himself. When their partiality is exposed the hackles raise up high on their neck while the excuses fly and further accusations are born. They may tell you that it is improper for you to call out anyone unless you have spoken directly to them first. Try to get though to one of these charlatans on the phone, or get an answer via email, good luck with that. Sometimes you can 'get through' but the answer you get will further depress or enrage you as it invariably will be overrun with excuses and displays of ungodly ego. Not even an inkling of remorse, much less genuine repentance (2 Cor. 7:10 & 11).

If this thing of 'discernment' is such a cesspool why bother? Would anyone dare to argue with God as to why and where He has placed each of us in the Body of Christ. We've all done just that and ended up humbling ourselves before Him and becoming grateful for His choice and His leading. 1 Cor. 12 is a great read for this very purpose. Regardless of the "body part" our Lord has chosen for us we must glorify Him in all that we say and do. Some clearly do not have the stomach for this thing of a "discernment ministry", but that does not mean that they are not a part of the Body of Christ, perhaps their task is something else, equally as important as all the others who do their part. To be effect in discernment one MUST walk with God, keeping his slate clean, Heb. 12:1 & 2 and 1 John 1:5-10. This holds true no matter what your "calling" (body part?) may be. May the Lord give us a hunger for His Word, His righteousness, and His wisdom and be confident that He always leads us where He wants us to go.

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The goats cannot digest it!

Shall we refuse to give unto God's children this valuable bread, merely because dogs snap at it!

(Arthur Pink)

"Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Romans 9:10-13

We ask the reader--ought not the doctrine ofelection to be plainly and freely proclaimed? 

If God's Word is full of it, 
if the gospel cannot be Scripturally preached without it, 
if the grace of God cannot be maintained when it is suppressed,
if the proclamation of it abases man into the dust, 
if it is a divinely appointed means of faith, 
if it is a powerful incentive unto the promotion of holiness, 
if it stirs up the spirit of praise in the soul, 
if it establishes the Christian in his eternal security,
if it is such a source of stability to the child of God,
if it supplies encouragement to praying souls,
if it works in us a sweet submission to the divine will--
then shall we refuse to give unto God's children this valuable bread, merely because dogs snap at it! 
Shall we withhold from the sheep this vital ingredient of their food--simply because the goatscannot digest it!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Drawing nearer...

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:” — Rom_6:5

1. Fellowship with God.
The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.
The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the s sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong.
The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.

2. Setting yourself still before God.
To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.

3. Take your place of deepest lowliness.
When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take your place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of humility. As a creature it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may be all in you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in self abasement. As a saint, let God’s love overwhelm you, and bow you still lower down. Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.

4. Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus.
God delights in nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who draw nigh to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most well-pleasing. In Christ you are within the veil. You have access into the very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.

5. This Christ is a living Person.
He loves you with a personal love, and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a personal Saviour and Keeper from the power of sin. Do not ask, can I be kept from sinning, if I keep close to Him? but ask, can I be kept from sinning, if He always keeps close to me? and you see at once how safe it is to trust Him.

6. His likeness to be wrought into us.
We have not only Christ’s life in us as a power, and His presence with us as a person, but we have His likeness to be wrought into us. He is to be formed in us, so that His form or figure, His likeness, can be seen in us. Bow before God until you get some sense of the greatness and blessedness of the work to be carried on by God in you this day. Say to God, “Father, here am I for Thee to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can receive.” And wait to hear Him say, “My child, I give thee as much of Christ as thy heart is open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him, will reveal Him in thee and perfect thee in Him. The Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in thee. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in thee as thou waitest on thy God, and holdest fellowship with Him.

7. The likeness of His death and resurrection.
The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things, the likeness of His death and resurrection, (Rom_6:5). The death of Christ was the consummation of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life to God. In Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and dependence and entire surrender to God, the power of His death works in us, and we are made conformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of His resurrection, in the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the risen life. Therefore every morning, “present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead.” He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow the grace to live as risen ones.

8. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in you.
All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God’s presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.

9. Meditate on this wondrous salvation.
As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.

10. By faith the keynote.
“By faith” must here, as through all Scripture, and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you tarry before God, let it be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith too, that all the blessings and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity to work out all God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God will be all in all to you.

Andrew Murray, from 'the deeper Christian life'

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Our sins infinite in number and enormity

 "Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?" Job 22:5
      This question was addressed by Eliphaz to Job. He was led to ask it by a suspicion, that Job was a hypocrite. He had imbibed the erroneous opinion, that great temporal calamities are inflicted on none, except the wicked. Hence he inferred from the unprecedented afflictions of Job, that notwithstanding all his professions and fair appearances of piety, he was a wicked man. He therefore endeavored to convince him that this was his character, and that he had been deceived respecting himself? With this view he addressed him in the language of our text: Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? Had Job really been what Eliphaz erroneously supposed him to be, this would have been a very proper question, and the charge which it implies, would have been strictly just. It is, therefore, still a proper question to be proposed to all who are ignorant of themselves. Indeed, it may without impropriety be addressed to every child of Adam; since there is not an individual among them, who, if he answer it truly, must not answer it in the affirmative. To establish the truth--that the sins of men are infinite in number and enormity--is my present design.
      In prosecuting this design it becomes necessary to show, as clearly as possible, what meaning is attached to the terms, sin and wickedness, in the Word of God; I say, in the Word of God; for it is too evident to require proof that by these terms, men usually mean something very different from what is meant by the inspired writers. The word, sin, for instance, is considered by many as synonymous with crime; and by crime they mean the violation of some human law, or of the common rules of morality and honesty. Hence they conclude, that if a man obeys the laws of his country, and lives a sober, moral life, he has few, if any, sins to answer for. A similar meaning they attach to the term, wicked. By a wicked man, they suppose, is intended, a man openly and grossly immoral, impious, or profane; one who treats religion with avowed disrespect, or who denies the divine authority of revelation. But very different is the meaning, which the inspired writers attach to these terms. By wicked men, they mean all who are not righteous; all who do not repent and believe the gospel, however correct their external conduct may be; and by sin, they mean a violation of the divine law, which requires us to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves; for, says the apostle, sin is a transgression of, or a deviation from, the law. This law branches out into various and numerous precepts, prescribing, with great minuteness, our duties towards all the beings, with whom we are connected, and the dispositions, which are to be exercised in every situation and relation of life; and the violation and disregard of any of these precepts is a sin.
      The gospel, also, has its precepts, as well as the law. It requires repentance, faith and obedience; and neglecting to obey these precepts, is represented as sinful in the highest degree. In a word, when we do not perfectly obey all God's commands, in feeling, thought, word, and action, we sin. When we do not feel, and think, and speak, and act, as he requires, we are guilty of what are denominated sins of omission. When we feel, think, or speak, or act, in such a manner as he forbids, we are guilty of the sin of commission. These general remarks will be sufficient to convince every one who knows any thing of God, of himself, or of the divine law, that his sins are exceedingly numerous. But since most men are unacquainted with all these subjects, and especially, with the nature, strictness and extent of God's law, it will be necessary, in order to produce conviction, to be more particular. And since the heart is represented as the fountain, whence all evil flows; the tree which gives its own character to all the fruit produced by it, let us begin with that, and consider,   1. The sin of our hearts; or in other words, of our dispositions and feelings. The sins of this class alone, of which the best man on earth is guilty, are innumerable. They form by far the heaviest part of the charge, which will be brought against every impenitent sinner at the judgment day. Yet most men think nothing of them. They seem to imagine, that if the outside be clean, the feelings and dispositions of the heart are of little consequence. But God thinks very differently; and a moment's reflection will convince us, that a being, who commits no outward sins, may, notwithstanding, be the chief of sinners. Such, for instance, are the evil spirits. None will deny, that they are sinful in the highest degree. But they have no hands, to act; no tongue, to speak. All their sins are inward sins; sins of the heart. It is obvious then, that persons may be the greatest sinners in the universe, without being guilty of one outward sin. The law of God, and the gospel of Christ, teach the same truth. What they principally require, is right feelings and dispositions. What they chiefly forbid and condemn is, feelings and dispositions that are wrong. For instance, love is an affection; repentance is an affection; faith is a feeling; humility a feeling; hope, patience, resignation, and contentment, are feelings. Yet all these are required of us as indispensable duties. On the other hand, unbelief is a feeling; selfishness, impenitence, pride, love of the world, covetousness, envy, anger, hatred, and revenge are feelings. Yet all these things are forbidden as the worst of sins; sins, for which those, who indulge them, will be condemned. It is evident then, that if we wish to know the number of our sins, we must look first, and chiefly, at the feelings and dispositions of our hearts. And if we do thus look at them, we shall be convinced, in a moment, that our sins are numberless. Every moment of our waking existence, in which we do not love God with all our hearts, we sin; for this constant and perfect love to God his law requires. Every moment in which we do not love our neighbor as ourselves, we sin; for this also we are commanded to do. Every moment, in which we do not exercise repentance, we sin; for repentance is one of the first duties required of us. Every moment, in which we do not exercise faith in Christ, we sin; for the constant exercise of faith the gospel every where requires. When we do not set our affections on things above, we sin; for on these we are required to place them. When we are not constantly influenced by the fear of God, we sin; for we are commanded to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long. When we do not rejoice in God, we sin; for the precept is, Rejoice in the Lord always. When we are not properly affected by the contents of God's word, we sin; for this want of feeling indicates hardness of heart, one of the worst of sins. When we do not forgive and love our enemies, we sin; for this Christ requires of us. In a word, whenever our hearts are not in a perfectly holy frame, we are sinning; for God's language is, Be ye holy, for I am holy; be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect. And if we thus sin, when we do not exercise right feelings, much more do we sin, when we exercise those that are wrong. When we are dissatisfied with any part of God's word, or with any of his providential dispensations; when we feel a disposition to murmur at our situation, at our disappointments and afflictions, at the weather, or the seasons, we sin; for these are heart-risings of rebellion against God, and they render it impossible for us to say, sincerely, Thy will be done. When we hate any one, we sin; for he that hateth his brother, is a murderer. When we feel a revengeful, or unforgiving temper, we sin; for if we forgive not our enemies, God will not forgive us. When we secretly rejoice in the calamities of others, we sin; for he that is glad at calamities, shall not go unpunished; and God is said to be displeased with those, who rejoice when their enemy falls. When we envy such as are above us, we sin; for envyings are mentioned among the sinful works of the flesh. When we covet any thing, that is our neighbor's, we sin; for this is expressly forbidden by the tenth commandment. When we love the world, we sin; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. But I forbear to enlarge; for who, that knows any thing of himself, will deny, that the wickedness of his heart is great, and its iniquities numberless?
      2. Let us, in the next place, consider the sinfulness of our thoughts. The thoughts are the offspring of the mind, as the feelings are of the heart; and that they may be sinful, the scriptures plainly teach. The wise man declares foolish thoughts to be sinful. Our Savior classes evil thoughts with thefts, murders, and adulteries. O Jerusalem, says Jehovah, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee? Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts. The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination. Hear, O earth, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts. Even men's characters are determined by their thoughts and purposes; for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. These passages are more than sufficient to prove that there may be much sin committed in thought. And if vain, foolish thoughts are sinful, who, who, my hearers, can enumerate his sins? Who can even number the sins of this kind of which he is guilty in a single day? And many of these thoughts are rendered peculiarly sinful by being indulged in the house of God, during the hours set apart for devotion, when, if ever, the mind ought to be solemn and collected. But it is here impossible to descend to particulars. We must leave every one to reflect, as he pleases, on the atheistical thoughts, the impious and profane thoughts, the impure, covetous, vain, foolish, and absurd thoughts, which have passed through his mind, and been entertained there. And while you reflect on this, remember, that thoughts are the language of disembodied spirits; that thoughts are words in the ear of God; and that our guilt in his sight, is no less great than if we had actually given utterance to every thought, which has lodged in our minds. Agreeably, we find our Savior answering the thoughts of those around him, just as he would if they had expressed them in words; and in many passages, God charges sinners with saying, what, it appears, they only thought. In the ear of Jehovah then, our thoughts have a tongue; and what he hears them say, we may learn from the inspired declaration. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is evil continually. And surely no man who believes this declaration, none who believes that thoughts are words in the ear of Jehovah, can doubt that his wickedness is great, and his iniquities numberless.
      3. From sins of thought let us next proceed to those of the tongue. From what has been said of our feelings and thoughts, it is evident that this class of sins also must be exceedingly numerous; for it is out of the abundance of the heart, that the mouth speaketh. If then, sin prevails in the heart, it will flow out through the lips. That it does so, is but too obvious. Not to insist on the falsehoods, the slanders, the profane, impious, and indecent expressions, which are daily uttered by many persons, it may be sufficient to remind you, that of every idle word which men speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment. Every idle word then is a sin. But what are idle words? I answer, all that are not necessary, and which do not tend to produce good effects. God's precepts are, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth; but that which is good to the use of edifying. Let your speech be always with grace, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let not foolish talking or jesting, which are not becoming, be once named among you; but rather giving of thanks. These rules, perhaps, will be considered by some as too strict; but, my friends, they are the rules, which God prescribes in his word; they are the rules, by which we must be tried hereafter. And every word, which does not comport with them is an idle word; and consequently, sinful. How innumerable then, are the sins of the tongue! How large a portion of all the words, which we utter, are at best, but idle words, to say nothing of those which are obviously sinful! Well might the wise man say, that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. I shall only add, that whenever we speak of others as we should not wish them to speak of us, we sin against the law of love, and violate our Savior's golden rule, Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even the same to them. Happy is the man, who can truly say, that in this respect alone, his transgressions are not numberless.
      4. Let us now consider our sinful actions. And here, my friends, we shall not speak of what the world call sins. We shall say nothing of thefts, frauds, injuries, intemperance, and debauchery. If there are any among my hearers, who are not free from these gross enormities, I must leave the task of reproving them to their own consciences. Our concern is principally with those sinful actions, which are by most men thought innocent; and for which therefore, conscience seldom, if ever, reproves them. To begin with what have been called sins of omission: Withhold not good from him to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. For to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. From these Passages it appears, that whenever men have an opportunity to do good, either to the bodies or souls of men, or of doing any good work for the glory of God, and neglect to improve it, they sin. Of how many sins, then, are we guilty! How many thousands of opportunities for doing good have we suffered to pass unimproved! How much good has been done by many of our fellow creatures, with no greater means, than we have enjoyed! Is not the charge, which was brought against the proud king of Babylon, applicable to many of us? We have failed to glorify the God, in whose hand our breath is. Prayer and praise glorify God. But these duties we have all neglected during a considerable part of our lives; and many of us are still neglecting them. We are commanded, whether we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God. These precepts apply to our words as well as to our actions; and they prove, that every word which we have not spoken, every action which we have not performed, with a view to promote the glory of God, and, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a sin. Hence it follows, that all the words and actions of unrenewed men are sinful; for they never do any thing, either to the glory of God, or in the name of Christ. Agreeably, we are told, that the ploughing of the wicked is sin; that the prayer, and the sacrifice of the wicked, are an abomination; and that they who are in the flesh, that is, in an impenitent, unconverted state, cannot please God; for without faith it is impossible to please him. We do not mean, that all the words and actions of unrenewed men are outwardly wrong, or sinful; but they all proceed from wrong motives, and are not accompanied by right feelings; they are not performed with that temper and disposition, which God requires, and are therefore, sinful by defect. They are like a body without a soul; the heart, at which God principally looks, and which he requires, is unholy; and therefore, the actions are the same. This is the import of our Savior's comparison; the tree is corrupt, and therefore, the fruit is not good; for a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. To bring all that need be said on this subject to a point; --every feeling, thought, word, and action, which is not, in all respects, as it ought to be, or as God requires it to be, is sinful: but no feeling, thought, word, or action of an impenitent sinner, is in all respects, what God requires it to be; therefore, every feeling, thought, word, and action of a sinner is sinful. If then men's feelings, thoughts, words, actions, are numberless, so are their sins.
      I am aware, my hearers, that this conclusion will startle, and perhaps, offend some of you; but if we follow the scriptures, I see not that we can come to a different conclusion. I only ask to be judged, or rather ask you to judge yourselves, by this rule. If you can prove, by fair appeal to scripture, that any part of your temper and conduct has been perfectly right, perfectly agreeable to God's law, I will acknowledge, that my conclusion is wrong. I will only add, that the scriptures assert, in plain terms, that the thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, that the way of the wicked is an abomination to him; that every work of their hands, and all they offer, is unclean. If we believe these assertions, we must acknowledge that our wickedness is great, and our iniquities infinite, --absolutely numberless.
      II. It is further necessary to show, that our sins are infinite, not only in number, but in criminality; that every sin is, in fact, infinitely evil, and deserving of infinite punishment. It is so,
      1. Because it is committed against an infinite being, against God, a being infinitely powerful, wise, holy, just and good. The criminality of any offence is in proportion to the excellence and greatness of the person, against whom it is committed. For instance, it is wrong for a child to strike his brother. Should the same child strike his father, it would be incomparably more so. Were his father a king, possessed of every good quality, the act would be still more criminal. But God is our heavenly Father, the universal King, infinitely exalted above every human parent, above every earthly monarch; possessed, in an infinite degree, of every perfection, which can entitle him to the perfect love, confidence, and obedience of his creatures. He is also the author and preserver of the very powers and faculties, which we employ in sinning against him, and he has conferred on us innumerable favors. Of course we are under infinite obligations to love and obey him; and therefore, to violate these obligations, and sin against such a being, must be an infinite evil.
      Again--that every sin is infinitely evil and criminal, is evident from the fact, that it is a violation of an infinitely perfect law. It will readily be allowed, that to violate a good law, is a greater evil than to violate a law, the goodness of which is doubtful. It will also be allowed, that if there were any law made by human governments, on obedience to which the honor, the welfare, and even the existence of a nation depended, --to violate that law, would be the greatest crime, which a subject could commit. Now the law of God is perfectly holy, just, and good. If it were universally obeyed, universal and endless happiness would be the consequence. But, disobedience to this law tends to produce universal and endless misery. Take away the law and the authority of God; there would be no right, but that of the strongest; violence, discord, and confusion would fill the universe; sin and misery would overspread the earth, would ascend to heaven, subvert the throne of Jehovah, and compel him to live in the midst of a mad, infuriated mob, the members of which were continually insulting him, and injuring each other. Now every violation of God's law tends to produce this effect.
      Farther--every sin is an infinite evil, because it tends to produce infinite mischief. Let us trace this tendency. Suppose all the universe to be holy and happy. A thought or feeling tending to produce sin, rises in the breast of some one creature. This thought or feeling is indulged. It gains strength by indulgence; gradually it extends its influence over the faculties of the mind, enslaves the whole man, and prompts him to disobey God. Now did it proceed no further, it would still be an infinite evil, for it has depraved and ruined an immortal being, a being, who, but for sin, would have been eternally happy; but, who must, in consequence of sin, be forever miserable. But it will not stop there. The being thus ruined by sin, will become a tempter, and seduce his fellow beings, and they, in turn, will tempt others; and unless God prevent, the infection will spread through the created universe, transforming holy beings into devils, and all worlds into hell! Such, my hearers, is the tendency of sin. Do any deny it? We appeal to facts. The whole universe was once holy and happy. A thought or feeling tending to produce sin, rose in the breast of Satan. He indulged it, and it ruined him. It transformed him from an archangel into a devil. He tempted other angels, and they became devils. He tempted our first parents; they complied, sinned, and became the parents of a sinful race. Thus all the sin and all the misery in the universe, all on earth and all in hell, may be traced back to one sinful thought or feeling entertained, at first, in a single breast; and this sin and misery would be far greater than they are, were it not for the restraining power and grace of God. Such then, is the tendency of sin, of every sin; and such effects it would produce, did not God prevent. A sinful thought, or feeling, is like a spark of fire. It seems but a little thing, and is easily extinguished; but it has a tendency to consume and destroy; and let it have room and opportunity to exert itself; let it be fed by combustible materials, and fanned by the winds, and it would destroy every thing destructible in the universe. Similar is the tendency of sin; and who then, will say, that it is not an infinite evil?
      Sins derive an infinite malignity from being committed in defiance of motives and obligations infinitely strong. It is evident, that the criminality of any sin is in proportion to the motives and obligations, which opposed its commission. To sin against many and powerful motives, indicates greater depravity, and is, of course, more criminal than to sin against few and feeble motives. Suppose a person is informed that if he commits a certain crime, he shall be imprisoned. If, notwithstanding the threatening, he perpetrates the crime, he shows that he loves the crime more than he loves liberty. Again, suppose him to be assured that if he commits the crime, he shall be put to death. Should he, after that, commit the crime, it would indicate greater depravity than before. It would show that he loved the crime more than life. But the word of God threatens sinners with everlasting misery, if they persist in sin; and promises them everlasting happiness, if they will renounce it. I need not tell you that what is everlasting, is in one respect infinite, viz., in duration. Here then, are two infinitely powerful motives presented to the sinner, to deter him from sin--infinite happiness, and infinite misery. Every one then, who persists in sin, notwithstanding these motives, shows that he loves sin more than everlasting happiness; that he hates holiness more than he dreads everlasting misery. His attachment to sin, and of course, his depravity and criminality, are therefore boundless, or infinite. From all that has been said, it appears that our sins are numberless, and that every one of our sins is infinitely evil or criminal. Every one then, who answers the question in our text with truth, must answer it in the affirmative.
      INFERENCES.
      1. If our sins are thus infinite in number and criminality, then of course, they deserve an infinite, or everlasting punishment; such a punishment, as God threatens in his word. There is scarcely any truth, which men are more disposed to deny, than this. They contend, that it cannot be just for God to punish sins committed during the short period of our residence on earth, with everlasting misery. But let us examine this objection. Do you not all acknowledge that a murderer may justly be put to death? Yet he might not have been employed more than a single moment in committing that murder. The fact is, in other cases we never think of inquiring how much time was spent in the commission of any crime. We consider only the nature and magnitude of the crime, and its effects upon society. If the crime is great, and its effects highly pernicious, we conclude at once, that it deserves a severe punishment. Now we have shown, that sin is an infinite evil; that the effects, which it tends to produce, are infinitely mischievous. Of course, it deserves an infinite punishment. And permit me to add, that complaints of the severity of this punishment come with a very ill grace from impenitent sinners; for they will persist in sin, notwithstanding this punishment. It seems then, that instead of being too severe, it is not sufficiently severe to deter them from sin. If men will now violate God's laws, what would they do, had he annexed to their violation only a temporary punishment?
      2. If sin deserves an infinite punishment, then it is perfectly right, that God should inflict such a punishment upon sinners. It is no impeachment of his character, no reflection upon his goodness, to say that he will inflict it. This evidently follows as a necessary consequence from what has been said; for justice consists in treating every one as he deserves to be treated; and if sinners deserve an endless punishment, then it is perfectly just and right for God to inflict such a punishment upon them.
      3. If it is just that God should inflict such a punishment upon impenitent sinners, then he must inflict it; he is bound by the strongest obligation to inflict it, for he must do what is just and right. And if it is just and right thus to punish impenitent sinners, then it cannot be just and right not to do it. To spare them, would not be treating them as they deserve, and justice consists in treating them according to their deserts. In a word, it is as much an act of injustice to spare the guilty, as it would be to condemn the innocent. This God himself teaches us in his word. He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord. And will the just God do that, which he declares to be an abomination in his sight? The Judge of all the earth must do right.
      4. Hence we see why the atonement made by Christ was necessary. Men had all sinned. Their wickedness was great, and their transgressions infinite. Hence they deserved an infinite punishment; and God was obliged, in justice, to inflict on them such a punishment, unless some sufficient atonement could be made. As sin, and the punishment due to sin, were infinite; no atonement, which was not infinite in value, could suffice. And where could such an atonement be found? Men could not make it; for they were already under sentence of death, and forfeited every thing which they possessed. Yet the atonement must be made by a man; because it was for the benefit of men. The language of the law was, man has sinned, and man must die. In this exigency, the Eternal Word, the Son of God, interposed. He consented to become man, to bear the sins of men, or, in other words, the punishment, which their sins deserved; to stand as the representative of sinners, and suffer the curse of the law in their stead. This he has done. He has thus magnified the law and made it honorable. He deserves some reward for this wonderful act of benevolence and obedience. A just God is as much bound to reward him, as he is to punish the wicked. But what reward shall he give him? He needs nothing for himself. But there is a reward infinitely valuable in his estimation, infinitely dear to his benevolent heart. It is the pardon and salvation of his people, of every sinner, who confides in his merits and intercession, and submits to be reconciled, through him, to God. This reward was promised him. This reward is given him. God can now be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. None, however, will believe in Jesus, none will apply to him for salvation, but those who see and feel, that their wickedness is great, and their iniquities infinite. You may see therefore, my friends, why it is, that I have led your attention to this subject. It is not because I love to dwell upon it. It is not because I, a miserable sinner, take pleasure in accusing and condemning my fellow sinners. But it is because I, a pardoned sinner, a sinner washed from numberless and infinite offences in the atoning blood of Jesus, wish to bring my fellow sinners to that precious fountain, of which I know the efficacy. It is because, as a messenger of the Lord of hosts, I am commanded to cry aloud, and show to the people their transgressions and their sins: and because I am also directed to preach to you the unsearchable riches of Christ. You may easily conceive how precious the Savior would appear to you, did you feel burdened with the weight of all the sins, with which you are here charged. My friends--penitent simmers, true Christians, do feel thus burdened; they feel that their wickedness is great, and their iniquities numberless. This it is, which leads them to adopt such expressions, as you hear them use in prayer; expressions, which have been used by all the pious before. It is this which leads them to complain, that they are the chief of sinners, and to cry out with the apostle, O, wretched man, that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Could you feel thus, how would you rejoice to hear of a Savior! How eagerly fly to his atoning blood! And are there none, who feel thus? none, whose sins God has set in order before their eyes? none., who are ready to cry out, My sins have gone over me as a heavy burden; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more in number than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me! Fly, then, to the cross of Christ, in whom we have redemption, through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace.

Edward Payson

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Preachers and funerals

I found this at Mike Jeshurun's blog, I thought it was so rare, and so needed in our day...


John Jasper was a prominent slave and Baptist preacher in Richmond, Virginia in the mid-1800s. He preached at many funerals. He said at one funeral: “Let me say a word about this [Name Withheld]. I say it first and get it off my mind. [Name Withheld] was no good man – he didn’t say he was. He didn’t try to be good, and they tell me he died as he lived, without God and without hope in the world. It’s a bad tale to tell on him, but he fixed the story himself. As the tree falls, there must it lay. If you want folks who live wrong to be preached and sung to glory, don’t bring them to Jasper.”

Continue here....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Love not the world!

(Don Fortner)

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15 

Worldliness is an undue attachment to this world. It is living for this world--its riches, its honor, its joys and its cares. It is living by the principles of this world: greed, covetousness, deceit and lust.

Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men--than the love of the world. 
Nothing more effectually chokes out the influence of the gospel in a man's heart--than the cares of this world. 
Nothing is more difficult to avoid--than an undue attachment to this world. 

Therefore, John sets these four words up as a beacon. They stand in blazing letters to warn us of great danger: "LOVE NOT THE WORLD!"

Beloved, this world and all that it offers, is no more than a bubble that soon must burst! Your money, your farms, your houses, your influence, your families--everything here is temporary. It will all vanish away! 

We laugh at the small child who cries when the bubbles he is playing with burst. But, for a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

What fools they are who love and seek this world! I cannot warn you enough of the danger of worldliness--of loving, seeking, and living for this world!

Are you God's child? Are you risen with Christ? Do you live in the hope of eternal glory? 

Then count this world to be a dead thing. 
Live no longer for this world. 
Set your heart on things above. 
Live above this pile of rubbish that must soon burn. 
Live to do the will of God, seek the glory of Christ, further the gospel of the grace of God, and serve the people of God. Quit seeking those things for which unbelieving men live, and seek those things which are above--life, immortality, and glory.

The work of the Gospel


The Work of the Gospel
The terms ‘missionary’ or ‘mission work’ are not Scriptural terms but terms that grew out of religious organizations, sending out adepts on missions whether social or religious. How different the work of the Gospel, or ‘ministry’ is, …the work whereunto the Spirit has set them apart’ (Acts 13:2).
The work is the LORD’s to do. Any that He sets apart for the work is by His choosing, sending, and sustaining. We are but to pray the LORD of the Harvest that HE send forth labourers into His harvest, Matthew 9:38. Here are 10 qualities of a true Gospel work.
1. The work of the Gospel is to exalt Christ and not ourselves- v.15, “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein…” When the hearers would exalt Paul and Barnabas, they deflected the glory to the LORD alone, knowing themselves to be sinners of like nature as those that would exalt them.
2. The work of the Gospel is to call sinners to the Sovereign Christ and LORD- v. 16, “Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.”Nations are the LORD’S to do with what He will, passing by some, and turning others to Christ in faith.
3. The work of the Gospel is to declare the mercy of God for undeserving sinners- v. 17“Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”Whether God ever reveals Christ in any sinners at all, by His grace, He still is a merciful God in withholding judgment, even for a time, and nurturing and providing for the worst reprobate.
4. The work of the Gospel is to point sinners to the ONE unique sacrifice of the LORD Jesusv. 18“And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.” While these would have offered sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas, they vehemently restrained them, knowing that only ONE sacrifice is acceptable to God…that of His Son the LORD Jesus, for salvation, justification, pardon and glorification before God.
5. The work of the Gospel will bring opposition from natural minded religionists- v.19, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.”Works religionists will always oppose the message of grace in Christ Jesus.
6. The work of the Gospel will advance, as God has purposed, in spite of men’s opposition- v. 20,“Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” Natural minded men may attempt to stop the message of Christ, but none can stay His hand or say unto Him, “What doest Thou?” (Daniel 4:35)
7. The work of the Gospel is not only in the converting of sinners but in confirming them in the grace of God- v. 21-22“And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” The electing, redeeming, justifying, calling, and keeping are the LORD’s!
8. The work of the Gospel is in the raising up of congregations under the leadership of men appointed for the well being of those congregations- v. 23And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the LORD, on whom they believed.”Elders minister unto the LORD and oversee as undershepherds the sheep of the Great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, 1 Peter 2:25.
9. The work of the Gospel is in following the LORD’S direction as to where, when and how He purposes- v. 24-26“And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.”These did not organize and strategize, but followed the LORD’s lead where His Spirit directed.
10. The work of the Gospel always accomplishes what God purposed– v. 27“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”


Pastor Ken Wimer

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"And because iniquity shall abound...

"...the love of many shall wax cold."

What a day we live in! Evil is not just declared good but has become good in the eyes of nearly all that draw a breathe; just like good, especially the Gospel, has become evil to those multitudes who do not know God and are not known by Him. This is readily apparent outside the "church" and is increasingly prevalent in the "church." Judges 21:25 "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." The only difference between then and now is the date on the calendar. Sad. Jer. 16:11 & 12 "Because your fathers have forsaken Me...walked after other gods...and you have done worse than your fathers, for behold , each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart so that no one listens to Me." How many people do you know that REALLY listen to God, obey His commands, walk with Him, and honor Him with their life and mouth? Few. Even more sad.

There is an insidious cold that has creeped into the visible church long ago. It has produced 'pastors' and 'teachers' devoid of the knowledge of the Scriptures, but more importantly devoid of salvation as well. Those in the pew sit and ingest their fantasy doctrines week after week and are themselves bereft of biblical truth on a massive scale. A scant few are actually saved but with no real spiritual food their growth is stunted, arrested, and even at a complete standstill. The rest seem satisfied with the status-quo as they march their way to hell thinking they are doing God a service.

So I ask where is the love of the Word of God? Why is it not read every day without fail? Why is there no desire to be taught by the Holy Spirit the very treasures of the Lord Jesus? Why would anyone born of God be satisfied with the pig slop that is generated from their favorite apostate's pulpit? If you love the Word then cherish it closely and thank God for His gracious gift of loving His Word. Those that really love His Word don't have to be told to read it, or cherish it, or be thankful for it---that's as automatic as breathing.

After the Lord Jesus rightly praises the Church at Ephesus He then speaks the most chilling words to those same people: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." This cuts deep into my heart and may it always do so. Do we 'fight the good fight' only to disappoint the One that died and rose again for us by our love growing cold? God forbid!!! Wading through the cesspool of false brethren takes it's toll, why not run to Him for our comfort---He is ALWAYS there! It is sometimes even more difficult to attempt to reason with those who fancy themselves to be "Christian", who demand that they be accepted as such when their fruit (lies, double talk, hypocrisy, partiality, etc.) totally belies their mouth's statement. It is sad to see those that feign believership all the while practicing the tactics of satan to promote their own sick agenda. These same people will scream 'unloving' or 'judgmental' or 'unacceptable tone' in an effort to silence their target, demanding that love be shown when they themselves show no love for anyone except themselves and their likeminded peers. [Talk about cold!] May it please the Lord to open the eyes of His chosen ones to the tactics used by the wicked one. 

People say persecution has yet to reach our shores, but the real believers have suffered for decades and it is getting worse really fast. It is not to be found in the capitulating churches and their pulpit jackals, but in those who dare to speak the truth whether the crowd thinks their words are "loving" or not. These "love card" peddlers know nothing of the love that is generated from the One who is Love. Their idea of love coddles the sin and the sinner and is more concerned with not hurting someone's feelings than it is in defending the faith once for all delivered to the saints. News flash: the Cross is supposed to offend! If He were as concerned with our "feelings" as many would have us believe then why does the horror of our sins overtake us when the Spirit first reveals our true self---our sins--- to us? This He does so that the magnitude of the sacrifice of His Son will be enhanced to the max. The real Love that is God does not pat us on the back, give us a hug and tell us it's going to be all better, NO! His Love provided our need of the sacrifice of His Son; not to sooth our feelings, but to righteously grant salvation to His elect. Rom.5:8. Too many of these 'love card' folk sacrifice truth for the sake of a person's emotions. But thanks be to God when He wreaks havoc on our emotions because it's only to show us His mercy. It can be gut-wrenching, lasting for weeks into months, but for those who know His mercy and love they would not delete a milli-second of it. Is not His Love and Mercy all the more precious when we realize that we don't deserve it, did nothing to gain it, can't keep it with effort, and all that He does for us is a gift simply because He loves us? Lord help us, we are but dust.