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

Monday, December 31, 2018

incredible voices

I know this is late, and I don't celebrate Christmas the way the world does, but, I do adore Him



May His holy will be done


(Matthew Henry)

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .
  health or sickness,
  peace or trouble,
  comforts or crosses,
  life or death--
may His holy will be done!
All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do--my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him--and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me--I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year--then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living--Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity--together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.


The bounties of God

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1Co 2:9). How often this passage is quoted only as far as we have now quoted it. How rarely are the following words added, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” (1Co 2:10). Why is this? Is it because so few of God’s people search out and live in the enjoyment of what the Spirit has revealed in the Word concerning those things which God has prepared for them that love Him? If we were more occupied with God’s riches than with our poverty, Christ’s fullness than our emptiness, the divine bounties than our leanness, on what a different plane of experience should we live!
Of late, we have been much impressed by noting some of “the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). It is indeed striking to note that our Christian life starts at a marriage feast (Luk 14:16-23; Mat 22:1-14), just as Christ’s first miracle was wrought at one (Joh 21-11). The word to us is, “Come, for all things are now ready” (Luk 14:17). “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage” (Mat 22:4). Observe the, “I have prepared,” agreeing with “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” in 1 Corinthians 2:9. Notice the “are ready,” confirming the, “God hath revealed them unto us” of 1 Corinthians 2:10. Mark the, “my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings,” for “all things are of God” (2Co 5:18). The creature contributes nothing, all is provided for him. Finally, weigh the, “Come unto the marriage.” The figure is very blessed. It speaks of joy, festivity, feasting.

He spread the banquet, made me eat,
Bid all my fears remove,
Yea, o’er my guilty, rebel head
He placed His banner—Love.

Practically the same figure is employed by Christ again in Luke 15. There He pictures the penitent prodigal welcomed home by the Father. No sooner is he clothed and fitted for the “house” than the words go forth, “Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry” (Luk 15:23), and we are told, “They began to be merry.” Since, in the parable, that merriment met with no reverse, since it is portrayed without a break and without a bound, then assuredly, we may conclude that this new-born joy ought to go on characterizing all who know that they are within this festive scene—as truly so now, as soon it will be in the glory.
A beautiful type of the lavish manner in which God bestows His bounties upon His people is found in Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” This was JEHOVAH’S response to the “sweet savour” which He had just smelled. It is most important that we should note the connection, and perceive the ground on which God so freely bestowed “all things” upon the patriarch. At the close of Genesis 8, we see Noah building an altar unto the Lord, and presenting burnt offerings thereon. Here at the beginning of Genesis 9, we learn God’s answer thereto.
What has just been before us blessedly foreshadowed the unmeasured portion bestowed upon the new creation, the members of which have been “blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). These “blessings” are based upon God’s estimate of the value of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself. The abiding worth of that sacrifice is immeasurable and illimitable, as immeasurable as the personal excellency of the Son, as illimitable as the Father’s delight in him. How the nature and extent of those blessings, which accrue to God’s elect on the ground of Christ and His finished work, are intimated by the substantives and adjectives employed by the Holy Spirit when describing the profuseness of the divine bounties which have already been bestowed upon us, and which we shall enjoy for ever and ever!
Take, first, God’s grace. Not only are we told of the “riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7), and of the “exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph 2:7), but we read that it has “abounded unto many,” and that we receive “abundance of grace,” yea, that grace has (Greek) “super-abounded” (Rom 5:15, 17, 21). It is the limitless wealth of divine grace flowing forth and multiplying itself in its objects. The foundation, or moving cause of this, is made known in John 1. When the only-begotten Son of the Father became flesh and tabernacled here for a season, it was as One who was “full of grace and truth,” and because we have been made joint heirs with Him, it is written, “And of his fulness have all we received and grace upon grace” (Joh 1:16).
Take again God’s love. There has been neither reserve nor restraint in the outflow of His love to its loveless and unlovely objects. He has loved His people with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3), and wondrously has He manifested it. For when the fullness of time was come, He sent forth His Son, born of a woman, yes, He did so love the world as to give His only-begotten Son, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Joh 3:15). And therefore do we read of His “great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph 2:4). The Greek word which is there translated, “great,” is rendered, “plenteous,” in Matthew 9:37 and “abundant” in 1 Peter 1:3. Love unmeasured, that passes knowledge, filling our lives with its unceasing ministrations, ever active in priesthood and advocacy on high, how truly is it, “Love abundant”!
Our present theme is inexhaustible. Our blessed Lord came here that His people “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Joh 10:10). This was first made good when Christ, as the Head of the new creation, the “beginning of the creation of God” (Rev 3:14), breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” (Joh 20:22). It was the risen Saviour communicating His resurrection-life to His own (compare Gen 2:7 for the beginning of the old creation). So too, when that same blessed One, who down here received the Spirit without measure (Joh 3:34), ascended on high as the glorified Man, He baptized His people in the Holy Spirit (Act 2:1-4), which as the apostle Paul assures Gentile saints, “He shed on us abundantly” (Ti 3:6). Here, once more, is emphasized the profuseness of God’s bounties.
Consider now His confidences. Said the Lord Jesus to His disciples, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (Joh 15:15). There are things which the angels “desire to look into” (1Pe 1:12), yet have they been made known to us by God’s Spirit. What a word is that in Ephesians 1:8-9, “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will”! This may be termed the abundance of His counsels.
Once more, take the exercise and display of His power. The apostle prayed that we might know, “What is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:19-20). Here was the might of God working transcendently in an objective way. Its correlative is recoded in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”—clearly this is the highest forth-putting of energy, working subjectively.
In such lavish measure, then, has God blessed His people. As the apostle wrote to the Colossians concerning Him who is our life, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete [filled full] in him” (2:9-10). But it is one thing to know, intellectually, of these bounties of God, it is quite another, by faith, to make them our own. It is one thing to be familiar with the letter of them. It is another to live in the power of and be the personal expression of them.
What shall be our response to such divine munificence? Surely it is that “The abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God” (2Co 4:15). Surely it is that we should “abound in hope, through the power of the Spirit” (Rom 15:13), for it is only here that hope finds its sphere of exercise, as it is only in the saints that it will receive full fruition. If God speaks thus uniformly of the varied character of our blessing—whether it be His grace, His love, His life imparted to us, His confidences, His power, His mercy (1Pe 1:3, etc.)—as being so “abundant,” it must be because He would impress our hearts with the exuberance of the bounties He has bestowed upon us. And the practical effect of this on our souls should be to cause us to, “Joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:11), to draw out all that is within us in true worship, to fit us for closer and deeper fellowship with Himself. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2Co 9:8). May it be so, for His name’s sake.

A.W. Pink

Saturday, December 29, 2018

our enemies

This study has come about because of the trials we face, the accusations from our own families, including our children. As of late, it seems those trials have been ramped up, but I gain understanding by going into His word. It settles me, it reassures me, and it brings understanding as I am reminded of what our Lord prophesied. 
Matthew 10 gives us truth concerning this very issue, starting in verse 34 -'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.'

Those elected unto life will be at odds within their own families because darkness and light do not mix. They are of their father, the devil, and we are of ours, the Lord Jesus. As a result, there will be much strife, much hateful speech, false accusations, disdain, etc. and it's all on their part. This can be very difficult to deal with, and we will not be able to handle this apart from the power and wisdom of the Almighty. 
The Gospel calls us out of darkness, bondage, sin and the world and brings us into a spiritual realm the lost cannot understand. We are still sinners, but we do not make a practice of sin. Yet, we are attacked for this 'new life' we now live by the ones closest to us. Oftentimes it is our own children who launch this vicious attacks, but that is exactly what our Lord said would happen. This was also foretold in Micah 7:6, "For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the members of his own household."
Verse 35 says, 'to set a man at variance'; I want to look at the definition of 'variance' to cause a separation, separate, alienate - from Strongs. This is from Helps word studies, 'properly, "cut into two parts" (J. Thayer); to separate by placing at variance ("divide"). This is what the Gospel does, even in the closest of relationships....it divides. 
Let's look at a bit of commentary on this variance, starting with Adam Clarke, "I am come to set a man at variance - The spirit of Christ can have no union with the spirit of the world. Even a father, while unconverted, will oppose a godly child. Thus the spirit that is in those who sin against God is opposed to that spirit which is in the followers of the Most High. It is the spirits then that are in opposition, and not the persons." It is the evil forces that work together with the sin nature of the unregenerate that cause this variance against God's elect. 

How are we to handle these attacks, and all else that entails? I think C.H. Spurgeon answers well in saying this, "Animosities on account of religion often excite the fiercest of enmities, and nearness of kin inflames rather than quenches the hostility. We are to press on in confessing the Lord Jesus, come what may of it. Even if our house becomes a den of lions to us, we must stand up for our Lord. The peace-at-any-price people have no portion in this kingdom. Lord, teach us how to behave in these trying circumstances."

Our love for our Lord MUST come first, even over our own children. Thus, the warning not to love anyone more than Christ, not to let their hatred towards us cause us to seek unity with them and deny our Lord. This is from John Calvin, concerning verse 37, "As it is exceedingly harsh, and is contrary to natural feelings, to make enemies of those who ought to have been in closest alliance with us, so Christ now says that we cannot be his disciples on any other condition. He does not indeed enjoin us to lay aside human affections, or forbid us to discharge the duties of relationship, but only desires that all the mutual love which exists among men should be so regulated as to assign the highest rank to piety. Let the husband then love his wife, the father his son, and, on the other hand, let the son love his father, provided that the reverence which is due to Christ be not overpowered by human affection. For if even among men, in proportion to the closeness of the tie that mutually binds us, some have stronger claims than others, it is shameful that all should not be deemed inferior to Christ alone. And certainly we do not consider sufficiently, or with due gratitude, what it is to be a disciple of Christ, if the excellence of this rank be not sufficient to subdue all the affections of the flesh. The phrase employed by Luke is more harsh, if any man doth not hate his father and mother, but the meaning is the same, "If the love of ourselves hinder us from following Christ, we must resist it, courageously:" 

Once again, let's look at C.H. Spurgeon's response, "We must earnestly beware of making idols of our dearest ones, by loving them more than Jesus. We must never set them near the throne of our King. We are not worthy to dwell with Christ above, nor even to be associated with him here, if any earthly object is judged by us to be worthy to rival the Lord Jesus. Father and mother, son and daughter — we would do anything to please them; but, as opposed to Jesus, they stand nowhere, and cannot for an instant be allowed to come in the way of our supreme loyalty to our Lord."


Everything must be forsaken, given up, put in its proper place when it comes to Christ our Lord - all comes AFTER Him who alone is worthy of ALL preeminence. This lesson is only learned as we go through the fiery trials He sends. 
So, we expect this variance...we welcome it! It shows us that our Lord loves us so much He will NOT leave us to ourselves, He will not allow anyone or anything to root Him out of His proper place in our hearts/lives. IF we do not have the right mindset when these trials come, we will get caught up  the human emotional side of it, we will be despondent. How do I know this? Because I am presently in the fiery trials of family members coming against me, including one of my own children. But it is okay, the Lord loves me, is with me, and will see me through. I rest on that assurance.

Disturbing Observations

As the believer watches the secular world decay and crumble around him it is impossible that he, the believer, will not be affected also. We can see evidence of this going back hundreds, even thousands of years but the evidence does not stop the downward spiral, serving only as a warning or a 'heads up' for those who can see. Abel was 'affected' by the hatred of his brother, Cain who murdered him. Moses, too, was denied entrance into the Promised Land because instead of speaking to the rock he struck it. David's life was in constant turmoil till the day he died due to his sins. We, in this day and age, are most definitely affected by the world we live in, it influences our thoughts, desires, direction, and too often the outcome of circumstances. The intervention of God on our behalf is a continual need, and one that is supplied by Him.

As a "boomer" I remember things early on that helps to explain the 'why' of what we see today. In the sixties the "God is dead" movement got too much 'air time' and far too little effective rebuttal from the "churches" during that time. Their response was more of a joke than setting the record straight. Most coddled their brethren of the cloth, making lame excuses for their insanity, and assuring their 'flock' that all is well while offering no cogent come back to counter the heresy that swept the world like the plague that it was. Little did these scoffers know that they were playing right into God's (angry) Hands------it is fitting that they should remain blind, then and now.

In quick succession came the demise of masculinity through the homosexual craze and the feminist nonsense. But the blame must be laid at the feet of men in general who became more interested in chasing their lusts than they were in fulfilling their God appointed obligations to their wife and children. The homosexual/feminist garbage was not the cause of man's problems, but the effect of his rejection of God. Man was and is more interested in chasing his 'dream' whether it be money, fame, or strange flesh. All this and more simply because man did not wish to retain God in his thoughts----------and so it is today, multiplied over and over.

There are no atheists in the world, now or ever. There are plenty of liars who suppress the truth in unrighteousness from themselves and all who hear them, but all mankind born of woman has the innate knowledge of God within them from birth, so states Rom. 1:18-23. Man embraced the "God is dead" lie so quickly because it released him (at least in his own mind) from being answerable to God. He could tell his conscience to shut up, being free to reject what he considered to be dead. The effect of all of this is twofold, man's conscience has been seared with a hot iron (rendering it dead) and God has given them over to their lusts which they happily participate in with reckless abandon, Rom. 1:24, 26, & 28.

Today, we see the effect of this 'giving over' in Rom. 1:28: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." Verses 29-32 get very specific concerning the visible fruit produced by these demented people. The effect of the "God is dead" nonsense is seen at this very hour, in every lost person we encounter, stranger, family, wife, or husband, none of them have the capability to think straight, to reason, to reach right (Godly) conclusions. [Only the born again escape the clutches of this sentence.] Lie upon lie is told in order to "save face" and maintain the fa├žade of 'being right' no matter who is hurt. It's bad enough to see this in the political world, the business world, the "church" world, but to see this in those who say they love you while stabbing you in the back is by far the most difficult to handle. It seems as though few, if any, families escape this now. My circle of friends may not be very large, but there is not one who has not tasted the nastiness of lying family members over the past few years, most of which have lead to severe rifts. It seems that there is a common thread to most of these, that being that the offending party gets a pass, is never confronted for his error (sin), is 'loved' no matter the cost to those whom he hurt, and all is swept under the rug and 'forgotten.' This is exactly what is taught in most "churches" of our day as witnessed by the cover up of the most egregious of sins by members and leaders alike. God is pleased with this, HOW?

May the Lord be gracious to those of His that face this and renew their strength daily. Help us to not loose heart, but continue steadfast, watching every day for Your return.

Friday, December 28, 2018

clearing the ground


None sink so far into Hell as those that come nearest Heaven, because they fall from the greatest height. None will have such a sad parting from Christ as those who went half way with Him, and then left Him.
In this old age of England's withered profession, how great a rarity is a sincere convert! When we see a tree that used to stand thick with fruit, now bring forth but little, maybe an apple on this bough, and another on that, we look upon it as a dying tree. Those golden days of the gospel are over, when converts came flying as a cloud, as the doves to the window in flocks. Now gospel news grows stale, few are taken with it. Our old store of saints, the treasure of their times, wears away apace; what will become of us, if no new ones come in their room? Alas! when our burials are more than our births — we must needs be on the losing hand. There is a sad list of holy names taken away from us; but where are those who are born to God? If the good go, and those which are left continue bad, yes, become worse and worse — we have reason to fear that God is clearing the ground, and making way for a judgment.
William Gurnall

Satan corrupts the mind with doctrinal error



by William Gurnall
First. Satan Labours to corrupt the mind with erroneous principles.  He was at work at the very first plantation of the gospel, sowing his darnel as soon almost as Christ his wheat.  This sprung up in perni­cious errors even in the apostles’ times, which made them take the weeding-hook into their hands, and, in all their epistles, labour to countermine Satan in his design.  Now in this his endeavour to corrupt the minds of men, especially professors, with error, Satan hath a threefold design,
           First Design. He doth this in despite to God, against whom he cannot vent his malice at a higher rate, than by corrupting his truth, which God hath so highly honoured, ‘For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.’ Ps. 138:2.  Every creature bears the name of God, but in his word and truth therein contained it is writ at length, and therefore he is more choice of this than of all his other works; he cares not much what becomes of the world and all in it, so he keeps his word and saves his truth.  Ere long we shall see the world on a light flame; ‘The heavens and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord en­dureth for ever.’  When God will, ha can make more such worlds as this is, but he cannot make another truth, and therefore he will not lose one iota thereof. Satan, knowing this, sets all his wits on work to de­face this truth, and disfigure it by unsound doctrine. The word is the glass in which we see God, and seeing him, are changed into his likeness by his Spirit.  If this glass be cracked, then our conceptions we have of God will misrepresent him unto us, whereas the word in its native clearness sets him out in all his glory unto our eye.
           Second Design. He endeavours to draw into this spiritual sin of error, as the most subtle and effectual means to weaken, if not destroy, the power of god­liness in them.  The apostle joins the spirit of power and a sound mind together, II Tim. 1:7.  Indeed the power of holiness in practice depends much on the soundness of judgment.  Godliness is the child of truth, and it must be nursed, if we will have it thrive, with no other milk than of its own mother. Therefore we are exhorted to ‘desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow,’ I Peter 2:; if this milk be but a little dashed with error, it is not so nutritive. All error, how innocent soever it may seem, like the ivy, draws away the strength of the soul’s love from holiness.  Hosea tells us whoredom and wine take away the heart, now error is spiritual adultery.  Paul speaks of his espousing them to Christ.  When a per­son receives an error, he takes a stranger into Christ’s bed, and it is the nature of adulterous love to take away the wife’s heart from her true husband, that she delights not in his company so much as [in that] of her adulterous lover.  And do we not see it at this day fulfilled?  Do not many show more zeal in contending for one error, than for many truths?  How strangely are the hearts of many taken off from the ways of God, their love cooled to the ordinances and messen­gers of Christ!—and all this occasioned by some cor­rupt principle got into their bosoms, which controls Christ and his truth, as Hagar and her son did Sarah and her child.  Indeed Christ will never enjoy true conjugal love from the soul, till, like Abraham, he turns these out of doors.  Error is not so innocent a thing as many think it; it is as unwholesome food to the body—that poisons the spirits, and surfeits the whole body—which seldom passeth away without breaking out into sores.  As the knowledge of Christ carries a soul above the pollutions of the world, so error entangles and betrays it to those lusts, whose hands it had escaped.
           Third Design. Satan in drawing a soul into this spiritual sin hath a design to disturb the peace of the church, which is rent and shattered when this fire-ship comes among them.  ‘I hear,’ saith Paul, ‘that there be divisions among you, and I partly believe it, for there must also be heresies,’ I Cor. 11:18,19 —implying that divisions are the natural issue of heresy.  Error cannot well agree with error, except it be against the truth; then indeed, like Pilate and Herod, they are easily made friends; but when truth seems to be overcome, and the battle is over with that, then they fall out among themselves, and there­fore it is no wonder if it be so troublesome a neigh­bour to truth.  O sirs, what a sweet silence and peace was there among Christians a dozen years ago.  Me­thinks the looking back to those blessed days in this respect—though they had also another way their troubles, yet not so uncomfortable, because that storm united, this scatters the saints' spirits—is joyous, to remember in what unity and love Chris­tians walked.  The persecutors of those times might have said, as their predecessors did of the saints in primitive times, ‘See how they love one another,’ but now, alas, they may jeer and say, See how they that loved so dearly, are ready to pluck one another’s throats out.


Application

  [A word of exhortation to all.] The application of this shall be only in a word of exhortation to all; especially you who bear the name of Christ by a more eminent profession of him.  O beware of this soul-infection, this leprosy of the head.  I hope you do not think it needless, for it is the disease of the times. This plague is begun, yea, spreads apace.  [There is] not a flock, [not] a congregation hardly, that hath not this scab among them.  Paul was a preacher the best of us all may write after, and he presseth this home upon the saints, yea, in the constant course of his preaching  it made a piece of his sermon.  He sets us preacher also upon this work; ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock;—for I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter;—also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,’ Acts 20:28-30; therefore watch.  And then he presents his own example, that he hardly made a sermon for several years, but this was part of it, to warn every one night and day with tears.  We need not prophesy what impostors may come upon the stage when we go off.  There are too many at present above-board of this gang drawing disciples after them.  And if it be our duty to warn you of them, surely it is yours to watch, lest you by any of them be led into temptation in this hour thereof, wherein Satan is let loose in so great a measure to deceive the nation.  May you not as easily be soured with this leaven, as the disciples whom Christ bids beware?  Are you privileged above those famous churches of Galatia and Corinth, many of which were bewitched with false teachers, and in a manner turned to another gospel?  Is Satan grown orthodox, or have his instruments lost their cunning, who hunt for souls?  In a word, is there not a sym­pathy between thy corrupt heart and error?  Hast thou not a disposition, which, like the fomes of the earth, makes it natural for these weeds to grow in thy soil?  Seest thou not many prostrated by this enemy, who sat upon the mountain of their faith, and thought it should never have been removed?  Surely they would have taken it ill to have been told, ‘you are the men and women that will decry Sabbaths, which now ye count holy; you will turn Pelagians, who now defy the name; you will despise prophecy itself, who now seem so much to honour the proph­ets; you will throw family duties out of doors, who dare not now go out of doors till you have prayed there.’  Yet these, and more than these, are come to pass; and doth it not behove thee, Christian, to take heed lest thou fallest also?  And that thou mayest not,
           1. Exhortation.  Make it thy chief care to get a thorough change of thy heart.  If once the root of the matter be in thee, and thou beest bottomed by a lively faith on Christ, thou art then safe, I do not say wholly free from all error; but this I am sure, free from engulfing thy soul in damning error.  ‘They went out from us,’ saith St. John, ‘but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us,’ I John 2:19.  As if he had said, They had some outward profes­sion, and common work of the Spirit with us, which they have either lost or carried over to the devil’s quarters, but they never had the unction of the sanctifying Spirit.  By this, ver. 20, he distinguisheth them, and comforts the sincere ones, who possibly might fear their own fall by their departure: ‘But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.’  It is one thing to know a truth, and another thing to know it by unction.  An hypocrite may do the former, the saint only the latter. It is this unction which gives the soul the savour of the knowledge of Christ; those are the fit prey for impostors, who are enlightened, but not enlivened. O, it is good to have the heart established with grace! This, as an anchor, will keep us from being set adrift, and carried about with divers and strange doctrines, as the apostle teacheth us, Heb. 13:9.
           2. Exhortation.  Ply the work of mortification.  Crucify the flesh daily.  Heresy, though a spiritual sin, [is] yet by the apostle reckoned among the deeds of the flesh, Gal. 5:20, because it is occasioned by fleshly motives, and nourished by carnal food and fleshly fuel.  Never [have] any turned heretic, but flesh was at the bottom; either they served their belly or a lust of pride—it was the way to court, or secured their estates and saved their lives, as sometimes the reward of truth is fire and fagot.  Some pad or other is in the straw when least seen; and therefore it is no wonder that heresies should end in the flesh, which in a manner sprang from it.  The rheum in the head as­cends in fumes from the stomach, and returns thither, or unto the lungs, which at last fret and ulcerate. Carnal affections first send up their fumes to the un­derstanding, clouding that, yea, bribing it to receive such and such principles for truths; which [when] embraced, fall down into the life, corrupting that with the ulcer of profaneness.  So that, Christian, if once thou canst take off thy engagements to the flesh, and become a free man, so as not to give thy vote to gratify thy carnal fears or hopes, thou wilt then be a sure friend to truth.
           3. Exhortation.  Wait conscionably on the minis­try of the word.  Satan commonly stops the ear from hearing sound doctrine, before he opens it to embrace corrupt.  This is the method of souls [in] apostatizing from truth: ‘They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables,’ II Tim. 4:3,4. Satan, like a cunning thief, draws the soul out of the road into some lane or corner, and there robs him of the truth.  By rejecting of one ordinance, we deprive ourselves of the blessing of all others.  Say not that thou prayest to be led into truth; God will not hear thy prayer if thou turnest thine ear from hearing the law.  He that loves his child, when he sees him play the truant, will whip him to school.  If God loves a soul, he will bring him back to the word with shame and sorrow.
           4. Exhortation.  When thou hearest any unusual doctrine, though never so pleasing, make not up the match hastily with it.  Have some better testimony of it, before you open your heart to it.  The apostle indeed bids us entertain strangers, for some have entertained angels unawares Heb. 13:2; but he would not have us carried about with strange doctrine, ver. 9, [though] by this I am sure some have entertained devils.  I confess, it is not enough to reject a doctrine, because strange to us, but ground we have, to wait and inquire.  Paul marvelled that the Galatians were so soon removed from him, who had called them unto the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.  They might sure have stayed till they had acquainted Paul with it, and asked his judgement.  What, no sooner an impostor come into the country, and open his pack, but buy all his ware at first sight!  O friends, were it not more wisdom to pray such new notions over and over again, to search the Word, and our hearts by it, yea, not to trust our own hearts, but [to] call in counsel from others?  If your minister have not such credit with you, get the most holy, humble, and established Christians you can find.  Error is like fish, which must be eaten new or it will stink.  When those dangerous errors sprung up first in New Eng­land, O how unsettled were the churches! what an outcry was made, as if some mine of gold had been discovered!  But in a while, when those error came to their complexion, and it was perceived whither they were bound—to destroy churches, ordinances, and power of godliness—then such as feared God, who had stepped aside, returned back with shame and sorrow.
Excerpt from The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall

a man's head on a beast's shoulders

Knowledge without grace. An orthodox creed with an unholy heart and ungodly life — is like a man's head on a beast's shoulders! That man has little cause to boast that what he holds is truth, if what he does be wicked.
Knowledge may make you a scholar — but not a saint; orthodox — but not gracious. He who increases in knowledge, and does not get grace with his knowledge, increases sorrow to himself, yes, eternal sorrow! It would be an ease to gospel sinners in Hell, if they could erase the remembrance of the gospel out of their memories.

Sin is shut out

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more!" Isaiah 65:19

The glorified weep no more, because all causes of grief are gone!
There are no broken friendships, nor blighted prospects in Heaven.
Poverty, famine, peril, persecution and slander--are unknown there.
No pain distresses, and no thought of death or bereavement saddens.

They weep no more, because they all are perfectly sanctified!
No "evil heart of unbelief" prompts them to depart from the living God.
They are without fault before His throne, and are fully conformed to His image!
Well may they cease to mourn--who have ceased to sin!

They weep no more, because all fear of change is past!
They know that they are eternally secure!
Sin is shut out--and they are shut in!
They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed!
They bask in a sun which shall never set!
They drink of a river which shall never run dry!
They pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither!

Countless cycles may revolve--but eternity shall not be exhausted; and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They are forever with the Lord!

They weep no more, because every desire is fulfilled!
They cannot wish for anything--which they don't already have in full possession.
  Eye and ear,
  heart and hand,
  mind and imagination,
  desire and affection,
  all the faculties--
are completely satisfied!

As imperfect as our present ideas are of the things which God has prepared for those who love Him--yet we know enough by Scriptural revelation, that the glorified saints are supremely blessed.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them.

They bathe forever in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite blessedness!

That same joyful rest remains for us! It may not be far distant. 
Before long, sorrow's dewdrops will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss!

"The sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more!" Isaiah 65:19
 
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!" Revelation 21:4

"Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Meditations on Christ

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Where is True Christianity in our day?

“But to walk closely with God—to be really spiritually minded—to behave like strangers and pilgrims—to be distinct from the world in employment of time, in conversation, in amusements, in dress—to bear a faithful witness for Christ in all places—to leave a savor of our Master in every society—to be prayerful, humble, unselfish, good-tempered, quiet, easily pleased, charitable, patient, meek—to be jealously afraid of all manner of sin, and tremblingly alive to our danger from the world—these, these are still rare things! They are not common among those who are called true Christians, and, worst of all, the absence of them is not felt or bewailed as it should be.  

Where is the self-denial, the redemption of the time, the absence of luxury and self-indulgence, the unmistakable separation from earthly things, the manifest air of being always about our Master’s business, the singleness of eye, the simplicity of home life, the high tone of conversation in society, the patience, the humility, the universal courtesy, which marked so many of our forerunners seventy or eighty years ago"   ~   J.C. Ryle

Lead me, teach me

Psalms 25:5 Inspirational Image

persevere and press on

“I dare say you often feel your heart faith, and are solely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on"  J.C. Ryle

*Disclaimer* this is not an endorsement of the blog at the bottom of the photo
Image result for Image of a struggling Christian fatigued in the battle

The Son of man

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
"He was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. How solemnly this brings out the world’s estimate of the Christ of God. There was no appreciation of His amazing condescension. He was not wanted. It is so still. There is no room for Him in the schools, in society, in the business world, among the great throngs of pleasure seekers, in the political realm, in the newspapers, nor in many of the churches. It is only history repeating itself. All that the world gave the Saviour, was a stable for His cradle, a cross on which to die, and a borrowed grave to receive His murdered body.
He was laid in a manger to demonstrate the extent of His poverty. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). How “poor” He became, was thus manifested at the beginning. The One who, afterwards, had not where to lay His head, who had to ask for a penny when He would reply to His critics about the question of tribute, and who had to use another man’s house when instituting the Holy Supper, was, from the first, a homeless Stranger here. And the “manger” was the earliest evidence of this.
He was laid in a manger in order to be Accessible to all. Had He been in a palace, or in some room in the Temple, few could have reached Him without the formality of first gaining permission from those who would have been in attendance at such places. But none would have any difficulty in obtaining access to a stable; there He would be within easy reach of poor and rich alike. Thus, from the beginning, He was easy to approach. No inter- mediaries had first to be passed in order to reach Him. No priest had to be interviewed before enter could be obtained to His presence. Thus it was then; and so it is now, thank God.
He was laid in a manger to show His contempt for Worldly riches and pomp. We had thought it more fitting for the Christ of God to be born in a palace, and laid in a cradle of gold, lined with costly silks. Ah, but as He Himself reminds us in this same Gospel, “that which is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). And what an exemplification of this truth was given when the infant Saviour was placed, not in a cradle of gold, but in an humble manger.
He was laid in a manger to mark His identification with human suffering and wretchedness. The One born was “The Son of Man.” He had left the heights of Heaven’s glory and had descended to our level, and here we behold Him entering the human lot at its lowest point. Adam was first placed in a garden, surrounded by the exquisite beauties of Nature as it left the hands of the Creator. But sin had come in, and with sin all its sad consequences of suffering and wretchedness. Therefore, does the One who had come here to recover and restore what the first man lost, appear first, in surroundings which spoke of abject need and wretchedness; just as a little later we find Him taken down into Egypt, in order that God might call His Son from the same place as where His people Israel commenced their national history in misery and wretchedness. Thus did the Man of Sorrows identify Himself with human suffering.
Remarkably suggestive, therefore, and full of emblematic design, was the place appointed by God to receive the infant body of the incarnate Saviour."
~ Arthur Pink 1886-1952, "Why Four Gospels"

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Yeddie


How often God chooses "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise!" Many years ago there lived in a Highland village a young lad whom the folk in that neighbourhood knew as "Yeddie".

Yeddie was supported by the "Parish" as he was incapable of performing any real work, and he would spend his day in wandering from one croft to another to listen to the folks discuss the news of the day. He had little power of conversation, and would sometimes take to whispering to himself as he passed along the little tracks, or through the fields. One day he was overhead by one of his own age group who thought that he would poke some fun at the harmless lad. "What ghost or goblin are you begging favours of now, Yeddie?" he asked. "Neither the one nor the other, laddie", Yeddie replied, "but I was just having a few words with Him that neither yourself nor I can see, but who sees the both of us!"

One day just prior to the Communion season, Yeddie called on the minister of the Church. "Please, minister", he said, screwing his coarse cap in his hands, "let poor Yeddie eat supper on the coming day with the Lord Jesus". The minister was busy preparing for the coming Communion, and tried to put Yeddie off in as gentle a way as possible; but Yeddie pleaded with him … "Oh minister, if ye but kenned how I love Him, ye wud let me go where He is to sit at the table". This touched the minister so much that Yeddie was told to come and take his place on the following Lord's Day.

During the first part of the service, tears flowed freely down poor Yeddie's face, and he was heard to repeat, "But I dinna see Him, I dinna see Him". Soon the bread and the wine were passed round, and, as Yeddie partook of the "elements" in remembrance of the death of the Saviour, the tears fell away from his face, and he nodded his head and smiled.

As Yeddie made his way from the "Feast", one after another spoke to him and greeted him, but Yeddie had no word for any of them.
Presently, some of the boys from the village cornered him and forced him to say something. "Ah lads", he said, "dinna bid Yeddie talk today! He's seen the face o' the Lord Jesus among His ain ones. He got a smile from His eyes and a word frae His tongue; and he's afeard to speak lest he lose the memory of it, for it's but a bad memory that he has at the best. Ah lads, I hae seen Him this day that I never see'd before. I hae seen Him with these dull eyes, YON LOVELY MAN. Dinna speak, but just leave poor Yeddie to his company."
Soon Yeddie reached the humble croft that he shared with his aged grandmother. "No meat for me today, granny", he told the old lady. "I hae had a feast that I will feel within me for as long as I live". He climbed the ladder into the loft which was the only bedroom that he had ever known, and throughout the night, until she fell asleep, the old woman heard Yeddie speak with "yon lovely man". .…."Lord, it's poor me that has been sae long seeking Ye; and now we'll bide thegither and never part more! Oh, but this is a bonny loft, all gold and precious stones. The hall o' the castle is a poor place to my loft this bonny night!"
Next morning, the old lady was up and about her chores. She set her humble table and made the porridge that was to be Yeddie's breakfast. She remembered that he had no meal going to bed, so she went to the foot of the ladder and called him to come and eat. The loft was still; she called again but there was no answer. Venturing up the steps to the loft that she had not been in for years, she pushed her head and shoulders through the trap door. There, in one corner of the room, before a rough stool, she saw Yeddie. He was half kneeling, halfcrouching with his head resting on his folded arms. "He must have fallen asleep at his prayers", the old woman thought; but, as she went over and touched the still form, she recoiled in horror. Yeddie would never need to seek the face of Jesus among his fellows any more. As he had supped at the table, so he has slept - with "yon lovely man".
A deep impression was made on the neighbourhood by the death of Yeddie. Jesus had, of a truth, visited that place and was made known to "the foolish", although missed the "wise" and "rich" and "great". From the day of his funeral many laid aside their vain attempts to "know Christ" through worldly wisdom and learning, and were taught to rest in the faith of the poor lad who had seen "yon lovely man".

From http://www.wicketgate.co.uk/pdf/e38.pdf

Did the Lord Jesus speak out against homosexuality?

 I have heard some say the Lord never spoke out against this abomination, they forget ALL of scripture was God breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16, and men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit - 2 Peter 1:20,21. So, when we read Leviticus 18:22, or 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we can be sure the Lord Jesus did speak out against this sin, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, the prophets, other Apostles, etc. 
Even that isn't enough to convince some, so we will go to the words of Christ Himself...
Turn to Matthew 15:19.20, 'For out of the heart come evil thoughts,murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. These are what defile a man...
We will look at 'sexual immorality', for this is exactly where Christ the Lord speaks against the sin of homosexuality. Sexual immorality is from the Greek 'porneia'- it means 
 'properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.' From Helps word studies. From blueletterbible-https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4202 '...
  1. illicit sexual intercourse
    1. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
    2. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
    3. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12
  2. metaph. the worship of idols
    1. of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols
All sexual sin outside of marriage as well as within the marriage are pointed to in this verse, adultery and sexual immorality cover all the bases. The only sexual activity that is acceptable is between a husband and wife, male and female, as laid out in Genesis 2:24. Even the thought life is evil, so if you think you are okay with thinking about sex but not acting upon it so you aren't sinning, you are wrong.

The Lord clearly states homosexuality, and all forms of sexual sin, defile, or make unclean. The bible states nothing unclean will enter God's kingdom. Take note of Revelation 21:27, 'But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices an abomination or a lie, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. '  What does Leviticus 18:22 state?  'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination'.   IF you are practicing the abomination of homosexuality, the word of God, which is also the word of God the Son, states you will not enter heaven

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD - Deuteronomy 6:4

that worthy name

by A.W. Pink

“Yours in the name of Jesus.” How many who owe their all, both for time and eternity, to the peerless One, refer thus to Him who was “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). It is “Jesus” this, and “Jesus” that. But is it becoming for worms of the dust, for sinners, even for sinners saved by grace, to thus speak of Him?
 Jesus is the Lord of Glory, and surely it is due the dignity and majesty of His person that this be recognized and owned, even in our reference to Him in common speech. Those who despise and reject the Savior, speak of Him as “The Carpenter,” “The Nazarene,” as “Jesus.” But should those who have been given an “understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20), ignore His Lordship? In a word, can we who have been redeemed by His precious blood do less than confess Him as the Lord Jesus Christ? “In John 13:13 we find Him saying, “Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” Surely this is enough for the believer. If our blessed Redeemer declares we “ say well” when we call Him “Master and Lord,” can we afford to speak of Him in terms on which His approval is not stamped?
 Never once do we find any of the apostles addressing Him as “Jesus” while He was with them on the earth. When He exhorted them to make request for an increase of labourers, He bade them “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:38). When He sent forth the disciples to secure the ass on which He was to ride into Jerusalem, He ordered them to say: “The Lord hath need of him” (Luke 19:31). And again when He required the use of the upper room, it was, “The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with My disciples” (Matt. 26:18).
It may be objected to what we have contended for above that the Gospel narratives commonly refer to our Lord simply as “Jesus.” It was “Jesus” who was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. It was “Jesus” who was moved with compassion as He beheld the sufferings and sorrows of humanity. It was “Jesus” who cleansed the leper, healed the sick, and raised the dead. This is true, and the explanation is not far to seek. It was the Holy Spirit of God who, through the pens of the evangelists, thus refers to Him, and this makes all the difference.
 Let us illustrate. What would be thought of one of the subjects of King George the fifth, referring to the reigning monarch of Great Britain and saying, “I saw George pass through the city this morning”? If then it would be entirely incongruous for one of his subjects to speak thus of the King of England, how much more is it to refer to the King of kings simply as “Jesus”? But now, King George's wife could refer to and speak of her husband as “George” with perfect propriety. Thus it is that the Holy Spirit in the Gospel narrative refers to our Lord by His personal name.
 Once more “Jesus” was the name of our Lord in humiliation. Said the angel to Joseph, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21), and in order to save His people from their sins He had to die the death of the cross. But it is to be noted that when Peter addressed the Jews on the day of Pentecost, he said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ “ (Acts 2:36). Hence it is that the Savior is referred to as Christ, Christ Jesus, Jesus Christ, or Lord Jesus Christ, and never simply as “Jesus” except when reference is made (either direct, by way of implication, or in contrast) to His humiliation and suffering.
 Our modern hymns are largely responsible for the dishonor that is now so generally cast upon “That Worthy Name.” And we cannot but raise our voice in loud protest against much of the trash (for that is the correct term) that today masquerades under the name of hymns and religious songs. It is sad and shocking to find professing Christians singing, “A little talk with Jesus makes it right.” Fancy saying, “A little talk with God makes it right!” and yet Jesus was and is “God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). Such unseemly familiarity as “a little talk” with “The mighty God” is horrible. “There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus” is utterly erroneous, and nigh akin to blasphemy. There is no “lowly” Jesus today, except the one created by the imagination and sentimentality of the moderns. Instead of being “lowly,” the Lord Jesus Christ is seated “on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3), from whence He will shortly descend in flaming fire to take vengeance on them that know not God and obey not His Gospel (2 Thess. 1:7,8).
Above we have said that the apostles never once addressed our Lord simply as “Jesus.” Mark, now, how they did refer to the Blessed One. “And Peter answered Him, and said, Lord , how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” (Matt. 18:21). “And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord , is it I?” (Matt. 26:22). “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord , wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, the Lord is risen indeed” (Luke 24:33,34). “Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest” (John 14:5). “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, “It is the Lord “ (John 21:7).

In marked contrast with the manner in which the apostles referred to and spoke of their Lord, note how others, particularly His enemies , referred to Him: “And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matt. 21:11). “And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by” (Luke 18:36,37). “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit ; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth” (Mark 1:23,24). “And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth” (Matt. 26:71).
 Christian reader: Will you refer to and speak of the Son of God as did His enemies and the demons, namely, as “Jesus,” or will you call Him “Master and Lord” as did the apostles, concerning whom He said: “Ye say well?” Let us ask God to deliver us from this flippant, careless, irreverent manner of confessing His Son. Let us own our Savior as “Lord” during the time of His rejection by the world. Let us remember His words, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:22,23). Let us remember it is written, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The signs of the times


100 year anniversary of Pink's 'The sovereignty of God'

Image may contain: text

"To come to Christ for life, is for the sinner to abandon his own righteousness and be ready to be made the righteousness of God in Christ; it is to disown his own wisdom and be guided by His; it is to repudiate his own will and be ruled by His; it is to unreservedly receive the Lord Jesus as his Saviour and Lord, as his All in all." ~ Arthur Pink 1918 - from- https://www.facebook.com/ArthurPinkQuotes/


This excellent writing from Pink is available at https://www.chapellibrary.org/files/4615/2218/1460/sogo.pdf

Fearing God

"The fear of The Lord is a holy awe of His majesty, a filial dread of displeasing Him. It is idle to talk about fearing God if we have no deep concern for His will."
~ Arthur Pink, "Divine Blessings"- from 
https://www.facebook.com/ArthurPinkQuotes/

Is a choir necessary?


“Is a choir needed to ‘lead’ worship? What choir was needed to aid the Savior and His apostles as they sung that hymn in the upper room, ere going forth into the Garden? (Matthew 26:30). What choir was needed to assist the apostles, as with bleeding backs they sang praises to God in the Philippian dungeon? Singing, to be acceptable to God, must come from the heart. And to whom do the choirs sing — to God, or to the people?
The attractiveness of singing has been substituted for “the foolishness of preaching.” The place which music now holds in many of our public services is a solemn “sign of the times” to those who have eyes to see. But is music wrong? Has not God Himself bestowed the gift? Surely, but what we are now complaining about is church-singing that is professional and spectacular, that which is of the flesh, and rendered to please the ear of man.
The only music which ever passes beyond the roof of the church in which it is rendered is that which issues from born again people, who “sing with grace in their hearts unto the Lord.”
~ Arthur Pink, "An Exposition of the Gospel of John” - from https://www.facebook.com/ArthurPinkQuotes/

Friday, December 21, 2018

sleepy saints

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor

“While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:6).

"Those words now accurately describe the present condition of Christendom as a whole; we need to inquire how far they pertain to each of us individually. Far more to the point is it to ask myself, Am I a slumbering and sleeping Christian?

What an anomaly! Drowsing on the verge of eternity! A Christian is one who, in contrast to the unregenerate, has been awakened from the sleep of death in trespasses and sins, made to realize the unspeakable awfulness of endless misery in hell and the ineffable joy of everlasting bliss in heaven, and thereby brought to recognize the seriousness and solemnity of life."

~ Arthur Pink, "Sleepy Saints"

Let us adore Him


by Ken Wimer 
 (I found this on Michael Jeshurun's blog)

“The LORD is in His holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” [Habakkuk 2:20]
THE TEMPLE OF OLD WAS AN EMINENT TYPE OF THE BODY OF THE LORD JESUS. Solomon had built a temple to the Lord – a prototype and an image of the future Church, the Lord’s body, which is why the Gospel says-“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” John 2:19. The Solomon of history had built that temple, our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, built a temple for himself. The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘Bringer of Peace’, and our Lord, the true Solomon, is the true bringer of peace, which is why the Apostle says “He is our peace, who has made both into one,” Ephesians 2:14. He is the true bringer of peace, who has taken two walls coming from different directions and joined them through himself, becoming the cornerstone that unites them: the believers who come from the people of the circumcision and the believers who come from the uncircumcised. He has made one Church from the two peoples, and has become their cornerstone and their peacemaker.
IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (CHRIST) THE LORD GOD HAS MADE HIS PRESENCE KNOWN. The mercy-seat of old was set up for poor sinners to approach in their High Priest. The Lord Jesus is the sinner’s High Priest, Sacrifice and Mercy Seat, Hebrews 9:5, Romans 3:25. The point conveyed by this imagery is that it is only through Christ’s shed blood that the condemnation of the law has been abated, and all its violations answered. In the Greek Testament, the original word for “mercy-seat” in Hebrews 9:5 denotes “that which makes expiation,” or “propitiation.” In the animal sacrifices there was but a temporary covering for sin, but in Christ their complete removal. Here Jehovah was consulted. Our justification was complete only upon completion of Christ’s obedience unto death.
Therefore, let all sinners throughout the world, for whom Christ has paid the debt; be silent before the LORD in peace and quiet. We have nothing to answer to the law, sin, Satan, or the world, Romans 5:1, 8:1. Christ has answered God’s just demand of every precept and penalty, and therefore in silence we bow and worship the Lamb who was slain. HE has silenced every guilty stain and fear. So, God is in His holy temple (Christ) and has once for all reconciled sinners throughout the world unto Himself by His death, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Our mouths are stopped in quiet adoration, peace, and rest because of HIM!

the love of Christ

by J.C. Philpot

"The love of Christ, which passes knowledge." Ephesians 3:19

That eminent saint, the Apostle Paul, who had been in the third heaven, and there saw glorious sights, and heard unspeakable words, though he exhausted human language to set forth the surpassing excellency of the love of Christ, comes at last to this point--"It passes knowledge." Indeed it must pass knowledge. Is it not infinite? What measure, then, can be assigned to the love of Christ? If Christ be God, and as such the equal of the Father, his love is as infinite as Deity.

Our love is the love of the creature; the love of God is as great as Deity, as infinite as the self-existent I Am; it must needs therefore pass knowledge. You may wonder sometimes--and it is a wonder that will fill heaven itself with anthems of eternal praise--how such a glorious Jesus as this can ever look down from heaven upon such crawling reptiles, on such worms of earth--what is more, upon such sinners who have provoked him over and over again by their misdeeds. Yes, that this exalted Christ, in the height of his glory, can look down from heaven his dwelling-place on such poor, miserable, wretched creatures as we--this is the mystery that fills angels with astonishment.

But it is the glory of Christ thus to love; it is his special glory to take his saints to heaven, that they might be witnesses of his glory and partakers of it. Therefore, it is not because we are such crawling reptiles, that we are such undeserving creatures, that we are so utterly unworthy of the least notice from him, we are to put away all this matchless love from us, and say, "Can Christ love one like me? Can the glorious Son of God from heaven his dwelling-place cast an eye of pity and compassion, love and tenderness upon one like me, who can scarcely at times bear with myself; who see and feel myself one of the vilest of the vile, and the worst of the worst? Oh, what must I be in the sight of the glorious Son of God?" And yet, he says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." This love has breadths, and lengths, and depths, and heights unknown. Its breadth exceeds all human span; its length outvies all creature line; its depth surpasses all finite measurement; and its height excels even angelic computation.

Now this is the very reason why this love is so adapted to us. We need a love like this; a love to spread itself over us, to come down to our lowest depths; a love that can land us safe in heaven. A love short of this would be no love at all. We would exhaust it by our sins if this love were not what it is here represented. Long ago we would have out-sinned this love, and drained it dry by our ingratitude, rebellion, and misdoing. But because it is what it is, love so wondrous, so deep, so long, so broad, so high; it is because it is what it is, that it is so suitable to every want and woe.