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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A works-based gospel has no power to save

Compromise is out of control in organized religion. Many take no issue with tainted, accursed gospel messages that include any form of work such as 'inviting Jesus into your heart', or 'making your decision for Jesus'.  Holding to the teachings of men and their false doctrines has brought much harm to sinners and keeps them in their darkness, yet deludes them into thinking themselves saved. Salvation is not contingent on baptism, on decision making, free will, being confirmed, partaking in the mass, being active in your church, being a member of a church, etc.
Man made methods never save, scripted messages that depend on the flesh do not save, Ray Comfort comes to mind. We must always, always base truth on God's holy, infallible word and understand the power to save comes from God and a right preaching of His truth. Unleash His truth without adding to it or taking from it, and the Spirit of God will take truth and do as God wills.
I want to present some verses from the Apostle Paul that clearly state he had NOTHING to do with having any ability to manipulate and save sinners, let's start with 1 Corinthians 2:4, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power". Here is what John Gill says about the first part of that text, "And my speech, and my preaching,.... As he determined, so he acted. As the subject matter of his ministry was not any of the liberal arts and sciences, or the philosophy and dry morality of the Gentiles, but salvation by a crucified Christ; so his style, his diction, his language used in preaching, was not with enticing words of man's wisdom; with technical words, words of art, contrived by human wisdom to captivate the affections; and with bare probable arguments only, a show of reason to persuade the mind to an assent, when nothing solid and substantial is advanced, only a run of words artfully put together, without any strength of argument in them; a method used by the false teachers, and which the apostle here strikes at, and tacitly condemns".
There was no method trotted out by Paul, no steps to take, no demand to 'do something'. Paul didn't use enticing words, he didn't resort to human tactics and human terminology in an attempt to 'get people saved'. Paul was not relying on anything from himself or those who would hear him to save.
Let's also look at commentary from Matthew Henry, "The manner wherein he preached Christ is here also observable. 1. Negatively. He came not among them with excellency of speech or wisdom, v. 1. His speech and preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, v. 4. He did not affect to appear a fine orator or a deep philosopher; nor did he insinuate himself into their minds, by a flourish of words, or a pompous show of deep reason and extraordinary science and skill. He did not set himself to captivate the ear by fine turns and eloquent expressions, nor to please and entertain the fancy with lofty flights of sublime notions. Neither his speech, nor the wisdom he taught, savoured of human skill: he learnt both in another school. Divine wisdom needed not to be set off with such human ornaments. 2. Positively. He came among them declaring the testimony of God, v. 1. He published a divine revelation, and gave in sufficient vouchers for the authority of it, both by its consonancy to ancient predictions and by present miraculous operations; and there he left the matter. Ornaments of speech and philosophical skill and argument could add no weight to what came recommended by such authority. He was also among them in weakness and fear, and in much trembling; and yet his speech and preaching were in demonstration of the Spirit and of power-Observe, None know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, who are zealous over souls with a godly jealousy; and a deep sense of their own weakness is the occasion of this fear and trembling. They know how insufficient they are, and are therefore fearful for themselves. But, though Paul managed with this modesty and concern, yet he spoke with authority: In the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He preached the truths of Christ in their native dress, with plainness of speech. He laid down the doctrine as the Spirit delivered it; and left the Spirit, by his external operation in signs and miracles, and his internal influences on the hearts of men, to demonstrate the truth of it, and procure its reception." This is an excellent commentary on what Paul was saying, both Gill and Henry 'get it'.
 Why did Paul feel it necessary to emphasize and clarify this? " That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" vs. 5. God forbid any man think he has the ability to 'help' God save sinners! Human wisdom and methods will never save a sinner, ever....period.
Here are more verses to prove salvation never comes as a result of man, his methods, or his brand of preaching-
'For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with eloquent words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power'. 1 Cor. 1:17 Adding anything or taking away from God's word even the slightest bit empties the words being spoken of any power to save. Yet, that is EXACTLY what a works-based message does, the end result are tons of false confessions from sinners still in darkness, in bondage, deluded and hell bound.
'And this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.' 1 Cor. 2:13

How many tremble at God's word? How many fear of mishandling truth? Manipulation is rampant, many must hold their traditions of men up, their creeds, their set of beliefs, and do so by using manipulation. What does the word of God say about flippant use of His holy word?

Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and prove you a liar. Proverbs 30:6

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it 12:32

 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book Revelation 22:18

Let us bear this in mind, from Isaiah 66:2, 'For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.'

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Let the pure Gospel go forth

"Many believers do not read their Bible for themselves; they read it through the eyes of their particular Confession and their theology (or rather, in most cases, the theology handed down to them from the pulpit). Do not let anyone lock your Bible in a cage of man’s devising"- David H.J. Gay

 "Brethren, the word of the Lord can stand alone, without the propping which many are giving it. These props come down, and then our adversaries think that the book is down too. The word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it. See that lion? They have caged him for his preservation; shut him up behind iron bars to secure him from his foes! See how a band of armed men have gathered together to protect the lion. What a clatter they make with their swords and spears! These mighty men are intent upon defending a lion. O fools and slow of heart! Open that door! Let the lord of the forest come forth free. Who will dare to encounter him? What does he want with your guardian care? Let the pure gospel go forth in all its lion-like majesty, and it will soon clear its own way and ease itself of its adversaries."

C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, November 23, 2018

Does God bless disobedience?

A recent sermon by John Thackway was posted on biblical separation part 2, now removed, because in it he stated God blessed Moses and the people in Numbers 20 by letting the water flow abundantly from the rock.  I did e-mail Mr. Thackway concerning his stance on the matter and this was his response, " The water the Lord gave the Israelites through Moses was blessing. Not upon Moses, because he was disobedient.  But the point was that the  water was given to the Israelites despite his disobedience. And the application is that God sovereignly and mercifully blessing, when sinful means are used, does not justify the sinful means, any more than it did Moses and Aaron. Thus, compromisers cannot point to blessing in order to justify their sinful actions."
Weren't the Israelites disobedient as well? According to verses 2-5 it's obvious their discontentment was made known. 
This appears to be somewhat of a double speak kind of response, it is also a bit confusing. Yes, God did allow the water to flow freely from the rock, but why? Was it blessing, or was it a display of His mercy for His name's sake? Let's look into His holy word. 

From Numbers chapter 20...
And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!
And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.
I underlined the direct command of God, and the willful disobedience of Moses. Water did flow from the rock, but not because God blessed Moses or the people in any way. It's clear what was commanded, and what actually took place. That is not disputed. 
I want to look at some commentary on these verses, starting with Albert Barnes, "The command Numbers 20:8 was "Speak ye unto the rock." The act of smiting, and especially with two strokes, indicates violent irritation on the part of Moses; as does also his unseemly mode of addressing the people: "Hear now, ye rebels." The form too of the question, "must we, etc.," directs the people not, as ought to have been the case, to God as their deliverer, but to Moses and Aaron personally. In fact the faithful servant of God, worn out by the reiterated perversities of the people, breaks down; and in the actual discharge of his duty as God's representative before Israel, acts unworthily of the great function entrusted to him. Thus, Moses did not "sanctify God in the eyes of the children of Israel." Aaron might have checked the intemperate words and acts of Moses, and did not. Hence, God punishes both by withdrawing them from their work for Him, and handing over its accomplishment to another."

Moses, in his anger and apparent doubt, disobeys and strikes the rock twice. Yet, water flowed abundantly. Does this mean it was a blessing from God? The text never says God blessed Moses and Aaron in their disobedience does it? To assume such is to add to the word of God something it does not say nor imply. That is practicing eisegesis-the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one's own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text-, and it is quite common in our day. 

I also want to give Matthew Henry's commentary on verse 13, 
'This is a strange passage of story, yet very instructive.
 [1.] It is certain that God was greatly offended, and justly, for he is never angry without cause. Though they were his servants, and had obtained mercy to be faithful, though they were his favourites, and such as he had highly honoured, yet for something they thought, or said, or did, upon this occasion, he put them under the disgrace and mortification of dying, as other unbelieving Israelites did, short of Canaan. And no doubt the crime deserved the punishment. 
[2.] Yet it is uncertain what it was in this management that was so provoking to God. The fault was complicated. First, They did not punctually observe their orders, but in some things varied from their commission; God bade them speak to the rock, and they spoke to the people, and smote the rock, which at this time they were not ordered to do, but they thought speaking would not do. When, in distrust of the power of the word, we have recourse to the secular power in matters of pure conscience, we do, as Moses here, smite the rock to which we should only speak, 
Secondly, They assumed too much of the glory of this work of wonder to themselves: Must we fetch water? as if it were done by some power or worthiness of theirs. Therefore it is charged upon them (v. 12) that they did not sanctify God, that is, they did not give him that glory of this miracle which was due unto his name. 
Thirdly, Unbelief was the great transgression (v. 12): You believed me not; nay, it is called rebelling against God’s commandment, ch. 27:14. The command was to bring water out of the rock, but they rebelled against this command, by distrusting it, and doubting whether it would take effect or no. They speak doubtfully: Must we fetch water? And probably they did in some other ways discover an uncertainty in their own minds whether water would come or no for such a rebellious generation as this was. And perhaps they the rather questioned it, though God had promised it, because the glory of the Lord did not appear before them upon this rock, as it had done upon the rock in Rephidim, Ex. 17:6. They would not take God’s word without a sign. Dr. Lightfoot’s notion of their unbelief is that they doubted whether now at last, when the forty years had expired, they should enter Canaan, and whether they must not for the murmurings of the people be condemned to another period of toil, because a new rock was now opened for their supply, which they took for an indication of their longer stay. And, if so, justly were they kept out of Canaan themselves, while the people entered at the time appointed. 
Fourthly, They said and did all in heat and passion; this is the account given of the sin (Ps. 106:33): They provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. It was in his passion that he called them rebels. It is true they were so; God had called them so; and Moses afterwards, in the way of a just reproof (Deu. 9:24), calls them so without offence; but now it came from a provoked spirit, and was spoken unadvisedly: it was too much like Raca, and Thou fool. His smiting the rock twice (it should seem, not waiting at all for the eruption of the water upon the first stroke) shows that he was in a heat. The same thing said and done with meekness may be justifiable which when said and done in anger may be highly culpable; see Jam. 1:20. 
Fifthly, That which aggravated all the rest, and made it the more provoking, was that it was public, before the eyes of the children of Israel, to whom they should have been examples of faith, and hope, and meekness. We find Moses guilty of sinful distrust, ch. 11:22, 23. That was private between God and him, and therefore was only checked. But his was public; it dishonoured God before Israel, as if he grudged them his favours, and discouraged the people’s hope in God, and therefore this was severely punished, and the more because of the dignity and eminency of those that offended'.
(2.) From the whole we may learn, [1.] That the best of men have their failings, even in those graces that they are most eminent for. The man Moses was very meek, and yet here he sinned in passion; wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
 [2.] That God judges not as man judges concerning sins; we might think that there was not much amiss in what Moses said and did, yet God saw cause to animadvert severely upon it. He knows the frame of men’s spirits, what temper they are of, and what temper they are in upon particular occasions, and from what thoughts and intents words and actions do proceed; and we are sure that therefore his judgment is according to truth, when it agrees not with ours.
[3.] that God not only takes notice of, and is displeased with, the sins of his people, but that the nearer any are to him the more offensive are their sins, Amos 3:2. It should seem, the Psalmist refers to this sin of Moses and Aaron (Ps. 99:8): Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance on their inventions. As many are spared in this life and punished in the other, so many are punished in this life and saved in the other. 
[4.] That, when our heart is hot within us, we are concerned to take heed that we offend not with our tongue. Yet,
 [5.] It is an evidence of the sincerity of Moses, and his impartiality in writing, that he himself left this upon record concerning himself, and drew not a veil over his own infirmity, by which it appeared that in what he wrote, as well as what he did, he sought God’s glory more than his own.
Lastly, The place is hereupon called Meribah, v. 13. It is called Meribah-Kadesh (Deu. 32:51), to distinguish it from the other Meribah. It is the water of strife; to perpetuate the remembrance of the people’s sin, and Moses’s, and yet of God’s mercy, who supplied them with water, and owned and honoured Moses notwithstanding. Thus he was sanctified in the, as the Holy One of Israel, so he is called when his mercy rejoices against judgment, Hos. 11:9. Moses and Aaron did not sanctify God as they ought in the eyes of Israel (v. 12), but God was sanctified in them; for he will not be a loser in his honour by any man. If he be not glorified by us, he will be glorified upon us.'    M. Henry

I believe Matthew Henry is correct in stating God displayed His mercy, for His name's sake, in allowing the water to flow. It was not a blessing, for disobedience never brings blessing. To state such is to show one's own misunderstanding of the sovereign, thrice-holy majestic God of the Bible. A God who despises and abhors all sin. We see the end result of Moses and Aaron's sin don't we? From verse 12, ....'Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.' This is the end result of sinning against God, it leads to stern consequences. Blessings are withheld when sin is indulged in. God chastises His people when we are in sin, He certainly never blesses us! God does ALL that He does for His name's sake, to uphold His perfect glory, holiness, righteousness. He never bends the rules....never. 

The necessity of repentance

When risen from the dead, Christ commissioned His servants “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations” (Luke 24:47), and Acts 5:31 tells us that He has been exalted on high to communicate these blessings in the same order, namely, “to give repentance to [the spiritual] Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Accordingly we find the apostles, who were filled with the Holy Spirit, thus carrying out His command. On the day of Pentecost when many were “pricked in their hearts” and asked, “What shall we do?” Peter did not say, Do nothing, but rest upon the finished work of Christ. Instead, he said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Again, in Acts 3:19 we find him saying, “Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out”!
When Paul was converted and sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, it was to “open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 26:18); hence we find he went everywhere and preached to men that “they should repent and turn to God and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20), “testifying to both Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). As to those who shut their eyes, stopped their ears, hardened their hearts, and were given up to destruction in the days of the prophets (Isa. 6:10), of Christ (Matt. 13:15), and of the apostles (Acts 28:27), their sentence ran thus: “ . . . lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heal them,” which, compared with Mark 4:12, signifies, “and their sins should be forgiven them.”
Against these clear and consistent testimonies of Holy Writ, certain men have insisted that the divine call to repentance was never made to any except those who were in covenant relationship with God. But as we have shown, Acts 17:30 and 26:20 clearly expose this error. Some have pointed out that the word “repent” is not once found in all John's Gospel, and in view of 20:31 have reasoned that it is not necessary unto salvation. But John's Gospel is plainly addressed unto those who are saved (see 1:16). It is that Gospel which sets forth the Son in relation to the sons of God. John 20:31 obviously means that this Gospel is written to strengthen the faith of believers; as I John 5:13 (addressed to those who already knew they were saved: see 2:3, etc.) signifies the purpose of that Epistle was to deepen assurance. Others have drawn a false inference from the very infrequent mention of repentance in the Epistles, but they also are addressed to the saints; yet II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25, II Peter 3:9 manifestly confirm the fact that repentance is required throughout this dispensation.
“There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccles. 1:9), nor is the present-day denial of the necessity of repentance for salvation any twentieth-century novelty. In proof of this statement we could find page after page with quotations from Antinomians and others who lived long before “dispensational truth” was first heard of. No, it is an old device of Satan's, yet under a new dress. But woe be unto those who accept his lie. God must cease to exist before He will lower His claims and cease demanding repentance from all who have rebelled against Him. Make no mistake upon this point, dear reader: it is turn or burn—turn from your course of self-will and self-pleasing; turn in broken heartedness to God, seeking His mercy in Christ; turn with full purpose to please and serve Him, or be tormented day and night forever and ever in the lake of fire.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

O God beyond all praising

It is well with my soul

Thou art worthy

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev. 4:11

Revelation 5:9
And they sang a new song: "Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Revelation 5:12
In a loud voice they said: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
Revelation 10:6
And he swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it: "There will be no more delay!
Revelation 14:7
He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the One who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and the springs of waters."
Revelation 19:1
After this I heard a sound like the roar of a great multitude in heaven, shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!

There is only ONE who is worthy of ALL praise, ALL glory, ALL adoration - He is Christ the Lord and He is worthy all day every day. He will NOT share His glory with any other.  Bow low, lay prostrate in the dust, and worship Him.

The secret of true happiness

(Harvey Newcomb, "The Young Lady's Guide to the Harmonious Development of Christian Character" 1843) The secret of true happiness lies in a cordial acquiescence in the will of God. It is sweet to lie passive in His hand—and know no will but His! The doctrine of a 'particular providence' is precious to the Christian's heart. It enables him to see the hand of God in every event. Hence the sinfulness of a repining, discontented, unsubmissive temper. It is difficult to reconcile the habitual indulgence of such a sinful disposition—with the existence of grace in the heart. The first emotion of the new-born soul is submission to the will of God. We are prone to lose sight of the 'hand of God' in the little difficulties and perplexities which are of every-day occurrence, and to look only at 'second causes'. We often do the same, in more important matters. When we are injured or insulted by others, we are disposed to murmur and complain, and give vent to our indignation against the immediate causes of our distress; forgetting that these are only the 'instruments which God employs' for the trial of our faith, or the punishment of our sins. In this doctrine of the secret agency of divine Providence, we have the strongest motive for a hearty and cheerful resignation to all the troubles and difficulties, trials and afflictions, which come upon us in this life—whatever may be their immediate cause. We know that they are directed by our heavenly Father, whose "tender mercies are over all His works," and who "does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." Whatever may be our afflictions, so long as we are out of hell, we are monuments of His mercy. "Why does a living man complain—a man for the punishment of his sins?" We are assured "that all things work together for good, to those who love God." The afflictions of this life, are the faithful corrections of a kind and tender Father. "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives." How consoling the reflection—that all our sufferings are designed to mortify and subdue our corruptions, to wean us from the world, and lead us to a more humble and constant sense of dependence upon God! How ungrateful for a child of God to repine at the dealings of such a tender and faithful Father! God will give us all that He sees is best for us. And surely we ought to be satisfied with this; for He who sees the end from the beginning, must know much better than we—what is for our good. It is our duty to maintain a contented and cheerful spirit in every situation of life. If God directs all our ways, and has promised to give us just what He sees we need, we surely ought to rest satisfied with what we have; for we know it is just what the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and unbounded goodness—sees fit to give us.

More dangerous compromise from Joni E. Tada

This is no surprise really, from Denise at surph's side concerning the latest on Joni E. Tada, go here.

I thought it was strange how she would get on stage and 'preach' at JMac's  strangefire conference. JMac, who speaks out against women preachers, then turns around and compromises....again. JMac, who says you should expose false teachers, I will NOT provide links to his website, you can google that yourself; then shares a stage with......false teachers!- I will provide a link from Denise's blog with  JMac's own words on dealing with false teachers -

Concerning his sharing a stage with false teachers, go here - From that link, 'Other speakers at Proclaim 19 include ministry leaders Greg Laurie, Charles Stanley, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Rick Warren; entertainment industry professionals DeVon Franklin, Alex Kendrick, and Kirk Cameron; radio talk show hosts Larry Elder and Dennis Prager; and many more.'

Much of what labels itself as 'christian' in our day is anything but. Avoid it, run from it. Do NOT be unequally yoked to it, come out from among them and be ye separate.

From J.C. Philpot

"By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew." Proverbs 3:20

When the Lord said, "Let there be light," instantly there was light. So when the Lord says, "Let the heart open," the heart immediately opens, the conscience is made tender, and the soul hears and receives what God speaks. And what follows this opening? The heart receives the dews and showers of God's grace that fall into it; and these dews and showers of God's grace communicate to it softness, fertility, and productiveness. O how we have to learn this by painful experience! Is not our heart as hard sometimes as the nether millstone; and also our feelings, utterly destitute of light, life and power, without one grain of brokenness, contrition, godly sorrow, spiritual desire, or fervent breathing after the Lord? This painful experience the Lord's people have to pass through perpetually, that they may know that "in them, that is, in their flesh dwells no good thing," and that" power belongs unto God."

Could I make my own heart soft, would I need the Lord to do it for me? Could I communicate fertility to my own soul, would I ever pant after the dews and showers of the Holy Spirit? Could I bring pardon and peace into my own conscience, would I need the Lord himself to speak with power? Could I believe, hope, rejoice, and have at my own command every gracious and blessed feeling that I desire to experience, there would be no pleading the Lord's own promises, no wrestling in importunate prayer, no taking the kingdom of God by violence, no longing and panting for the Lord to appear in our souls.

The Lord therefore sees fit that we should walk in these paths, that we may know, "it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Be not carried about

“Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their ‘earnestness’ (to use an unhappy cant phrase) makes many think they must be right. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heartwork. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly, and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan is often ‘transformed into an angel of light.’ (2 Corinthians 2:14) There is a wide-spread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man. All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, ‘Be not carried about.'

J.C. Ryle

Monday, November 19, 2018

I could never have done that!

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2 

Be lenient with the fallen. You see a brother fall, and say, "I never could have done that!" 

Perhaps you could not — because your temptation does not happen to be in that direction. But you have done things in the course of your life, that these fallen men could never have done, because their temptation was not in that direction.

In our criticisms of others, let us remember that we have faults which our friends have excused. How much would be left of us — if all those who see inconsistencies in us, should clip away from our character and reputation! It is an invariable rule, that those who make the roughest work with the reputations of others — are those who have themselves the most imperfections.

We ought to be induced away from all harshness — by the fact that we ourselves are to be brought to a high tribunal at the last, and that he shall have judgment without mercy, who has shown no mercy. You are accustomed with rough grip violently to shake men for their misdeeds, waiting for no palliations, and listening to no appeals. What will become of you when at last, with all your imperfections, you appear at the bar of your Maker?

You don't know what you would do, if sufficiently tempted. There are evil passions within your soul that have never been unchained. 

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10 

"Hold me up — and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

J.C. Pittman, 1917

You call me Master

You call Me Master — and obey me not,
You call Me Light — and see me not,
You call Me way — and follow me not
You call Me Life — and desire me not,
You call Me wise — and acknowledge me not,
You call Me fair — and love me not,
You call Me rich — and ask me not,
You call Me eternal — and seek me not,
You call Me gracious — and trust me not,
You call Me noble — and serve me not,
You call Me mighty — and honor me not,
You call Me just — and fear me not,
If I condemn you — blame Me not

J.C. Pittman 1917

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A grievous error of Martin Luther

I was reading from Galatians 3, verse 13. I decided to look into commentary on that verse from Albert Barnes and discovered this...

'I have heard language used which sent a chill of horror to my heart; and language may be found in the writings of those who hold the doctrine of imputation in the strictest sense, which is only a little short of blasphemy. I have hesitated whether I should copy expressions here on this subject from one of the greatest and best of men (I mean Luther) to show the nature of the views which people sometimes entertain on the subject of the imputation of sin to Christ. But as Luther deliberately published them to the world in his favorite book, which he used to call his "Catharine de Bora," after the name of his wife; and since similar views are sometimes entertained now; and as it is important that such views should be held up to universal abhorrence, no matter how respectable the source from which they emanate, I will copy a few of his expressions on this subject - "And this, no doubt, all the prophets did foresee in spirit, than Christ should become the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, rebel, and blasphemer, that ever was OR could be in the world. For he being made a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world is not now an innocent person and without sins; is not now the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary; but a sinner which hath and carrieth the sin of Paul, who was a blasphemer, an oppressor, and a persecutor; of Peter, which denied Christ; of David, which was an adulterer, a murderer, and caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of the Lord; and, briefly, which hath and beareth all the sins of all people in his body: not that he himself committed them, but for that he received them, being committed or done of us, and laid them upon his own body, that he might make satisfaction for them with his own blood.
Therefore, this general sentence of Moses comprehendeth him also (albeit in his own person he was innocent), because it found him among sinners and transgressors; like as the magistrate taketh him for a thief, and punisheth him whom he findeth among other thieves and transgressors, though he never committed anything worthy of death. When the Law, therefore, found him among thieves it condemned and killed him as a thief." "If thou wilt deny him to be a sinner and accursed, deny, also, that he was crucified and dead." "But if it is not absurd to confess and believe that Christ was crucified between two thieves, then it is not absurd to say that he was accursed, and of all sinnerS, the greatesT." "God, our most merciful Father, sent His only Son into the world, and laid upon him all the sins of all people, saying, be thou Peter, that denier; Paul, that persecutor, blasphemer, and cruel oppressor; David, that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the fruit in Paradise; that thief who hung upon the cross; and, briefly, be thou the person who has committed the sins of all people; see, therefore, that thou pay and satisfy for them" - Luther on the Galatians, Galatians 3:13. (pp. 213-215. London edition, 1838). from Albert Barnes commentary on Galatians 3:13 -

From this we see great error in what Luther believed, attributing sin to our Lord and claiming He became a sinner on the cross. This is great & grievous error. We also see Luther held to universalism, stating this, "For he being made a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world is not now an innocent person and without sins..... which hath and beareth all the sins of all people in his body".  1 Peter 1:19 clearly states Christ was a Lamb without blemish or spot. Here is why we must handle the word of God with utmost care, and search for ourselves, with much prayer, for understanding and insight. Trust NO man, I have been careless in the past in posting things that I have not thoroughly researched or listened to. No one has complete revelation, but that is not what this is about. If someone speaks error, just one line of it, then are we to continue trusting them? 

I pray to be extremely careful in what I hear, read, listen to and post. I pray to handle His truth as though my life and the life of others depends on it, and never to cause anyone to stumble. May God cause all of us to use the utmost discernment and scrutiny in what we read and listen to.

“Beware of supposing that a teacher is to be trusted, because although he holds some unsound views, he yet ‘teaches a great deal of truth.’ Such a teacher is precisely the man to do you harm: poison is always most dangerous when it is mixed with wholesome food. ”  J.C. Ryle (1816-1900

following the Lamb

some thoughts on the sin of homosexuality

I have posted much on the sin of homosexuality, yet it seems to confuse some, irritate others, and still others ignore it altogether. 

I recently visited a blog exposing the confusion and compromising of some,namely Tim Keller, and read this from the blog owner ....

personal observation

It must be noted that the professing church is headed in a dangerous direction with regard to the sin of homosexuality, and the manner and method by which the Lord’s people are to engage and bear witness in the world. I have watched as many who profess to love Christ, and the truth, move away from scripture toward a more “culturally acceptable” position, all in the name of “love.” The lost world has elevated this sin to a respectable lifestyle choice and the visible church seems eager to get in line and “set things right” in the “church.” And I am not referring only to the full blown apostate denominations who are performing blasphemous same sex ceremonies and ordaining homosexuals into ministry; many who profess to be “holding the line” are slowly losing their grip as they refuse to teach or preach on the subject- and if they do venture out into a sermon on the latter verses of Romans 1, it is most always prefaced with a lengthy apology for doing so! I have personally witnessed this and it was troubling, to say the least. The professing church has clearly adopted the language and attitude of the world, even going so far as to regularly use the world’s manufactured terminology.  And for the record, there is no more a homosexual “community” than an adulterer’s community; a murderer’s community; a liar’s community or a community of thieves! It exists only in the corrupt minds of sinful men- many of whom line the pews and occupy the pulpits of the professing church. If only they could see the condemned souls that are plunging into the depths of the outer darkness of hell perhaps they would skip the apologies, abandon the man-centered messages, and muster up enough courage to eagerly and joyfully proclaim God’s glorious truth to those trapped in this spiritually destructive snare of the devil. And not only the homosexual, but also the masses who give “hearty approval” (Romans 1:32), whether it be directly, or indirectly. from
I  only take issue with this, 'those trapped in the spiritually destructive snare of the devil'.  This makes it sound like the homosexual is a victim rather than one who chooses to indulge and rebel in the grossest of ways against their Maker. Sin is bondage, BUT, it is also chosen by the sinner as a result of what lies in his/her very own heart. Satan can trip us up, but he cannot force us to act out what lies in our wicked hearts. We do that by giving in to our own lusts - see James 1:14,15.
I remember a few years back being 'scolded' by a professing Christian who thought I posted too much on the sin of homosexuality. I was really surprised by that and now realize how many want to just sweep this filth under the rug and hope it all 'goes away'.  It is that exact mindset that allows sin to grow like a cancer. Don't address it, just ignore it. Don't speak out against it and point sinners to Christ, just let it work itself out. That's the problem, sin is not satisfied until it has consumed and destroyed all in its path. How can anyone who loves God and His precious truth ignore the rampant perversion in our society? Doing nothing is not the answer.
I recently had someone ask me about this sin, knowing my past. They were trying to understand where it comes from and what may cause/trigger it. I have heard some claim abuse or neglect as a child may be the reason, but I cannot agree with that at all. I must go to God's word to find out why we choose the sins we choose. In this particular case, the sin of homosexuality is a result of suppressing God's truth and being turned over to our own depravity by God. It is not a result of anything that may have happened as a child. Romans 1 gives us the reason, as I just stated, particularly verse 28, 'And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient'.  I like John Gill's commentary on this, "God gave them over to a reprobate mind; a vain empty mind, worthless, good for nothing devoid of all true knowledge and judgment; incapable of approving what is truly good, or of disapproving that which is evil; a mind that has lost all conscience of things, and is disapproved of by God"

I also like Matthew Henry on this verse, "They did not like to retain God in their knowledge. The blindness of their understandings was caused by the wilful aversion of their wills and affections. They did not retain God in their knowledge, because they did not like it. They would neither know nor do any thing but just what pleased themselves. It is just the temper of carnal hearts; the pleasing of themselves is their highest end. There are many that have God in their knowledge, they cannot help it, the light shines so fully in their faces; but they do not retain him there. They say to the Almighty, Depart (Job 21:14), and they therefore do not retain God in their knowledge because it thwarts and contradicts their lusts; they do not like it. In their knowledge—en epignoµsei. There is a difference between gnoµsis and epignoµsis, the knowledge and the acknowledgement of God; the pagans knew God, but did not, would not, acknowledge him.
[2.] Answerable to this wilfulness of theirs, in gainsaying the truth, God gave them over to a wilfulness in the grossest sins, here called a reprobate mind—eis adokimon noun, a mind void of all sense and judgment to discern things that differ, so that they could not distinguish their right hand from their left in spiritual things. See whither a course of sin leads, and into what a gulf it plunges the sinner at last; hither fleshly lusts have a direct tendency. Eyes full of adultery cannot cease from sin, 2 Pt. 2:14. This reprobate mind was a blind scared conscience, past feeling, Eph. 4:19. When the judgment is once reconciled to sin, the man is in the suburbs of hell. At first Pharaoh hardened his heart, but afterwards God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Thus wilful hardness is justly punished with judicial hardness".

Homosexuality is not something we can ignore, it is a sin. It is a result of sinners rejecting the God of the Bible and His truth, in turn, He gives them over to their own sick and twisted minds to act out what lies within . It is a vile sin that destroys society and demolishes God's design for family-see Genesis 2:24. It seems not many are willing to speak the warning found in Jude 1:7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire "
This is a taste of what awaits the unrepentant homosexual who defies God's word and warning, the sexual deviant who thinks they can escape the awful wrath of God by simply denying He exists. Fools that they are.

quotable quote

“All heresies that have afflicted the church have their origins in a defective understanding of sin.”   J.C. Ryle

Saturday, November 17, 2018

no other refuge

"They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses." Psalm 107:4-6
Until they wandered in the wilderness--until they felt it to be a solitary way, until they found no city to dwell in, until hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them--there was no cry. There might have been prayer, a desire, a feeble wish, and now and then a sigh or a groan. But this was not enough. Something more was needed to draw forth loving-kindness out of the bosom of the compassionate Head of the Church. A cry was needed--a cry of distress, a cry of soul trouble, a cry forced out of their hearts by heavy burdens. And a cry implies necessity, urgent need, a perishing without an answer to the cry. It is the breath of a soul bent upon having eternal realities brought into the conscience, or perishing without them. It is this solemn feeling in the heart that there is no other refuge but God.
The Lord brings all his people here--to have no other refuge but himself. Friends, counselors, acquaintance--these may sympathize, but they cannot afford relief. There is no refuge, nor shelter, nor harbor, nor home into which they can fly, except the Lord. Thus troubles force us to deal with God in a personal manner. They chase away that half-hearted religion of which we have so much; and they drive out that notional experience and dry profession that we are so often satisfied with. They chase them away as a strong north wind chases away the mists; and they bring a man to this solemn spot that he must have communications from God to support him under, and bring him out of his trouble; and if a man is not brought to this point by his troubles, they have done him no good. But what a mercy it is when there is a cry! and when the Lord sends a cry in the trouble, he is sure in his own time and way to send deliverance out of it.

J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

looking unto the Lord

Arthur Pink
November, 1949

Looking unto the Lord is an attitude of the soul, an act of the will, and the exercise of faith — a turning away from all that is of the creature, and relying solely upon the living God. It is tersely — but graphically, expressed in these words: "But our eyes are upon you!" (2 Chronicles 20:12), and blessed is the one who can really so aver. That is the language of all God's children, when they are in their right minds. At that time, they place no reliance upon self, have no confidence in the flesh, and expect nothing good from the world — but they put all their trust in the Lord. Their hearts are engaged with an almighty God, and, like Moses, they endure "as seeing him who is invisible" (Heb 11:27). It is this which characterizes those who are members of the Household of Faith:
in their need — they look to God for their supplies;
in their straits — they look to God for deliverance;
in their trouble — they look to God for comfort;
in their weakness — they look to God for strength.
It is this which distinguishes them from unbelievers, who lean upon the "arm of flesh" (2 Chronicles 32:8) and look to their fellows for help. In proportion, as we maintain this attitude of dependence on and expectation from our heavenly Father . . .
our hearts will be kept in peace,
our souls made to rejoice, and
our every need will be supplied.
For the sake of young preachers, we will topicalize our subject.
1. The look of salvation. "Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa 45:22). Look not to the Law, the priest, nor to your baptism, nor church attendance. Look not to your sincerity and good intentions, nor to your prayers and good deeds; nor even to your convictions of sin. None but Christ can save you. This is very humbling to the proud creature: to have to look away from self — and be wholly indebted to Another. It is not a matter of what we are — how good or bad — but of what He is: namely, an all-sufficient Savior, freely offered in the Gospel to every hearer. If you look unto Him, as the serpent-bitten Israelites looked upon the divinely appointed object (John 3:14) — with simple but confident faith — He will save you. No qualifications are needed to entitle you to do so — the command of God and the invitation of the Gospel supply sufficient authorization. The viler you feel yourself to be — the more suited to Christ's cleansing blood. He is the great Physician — and can heal the foulest leper. Do you say, "But I am blind!" True — yet you are not bidden to "See," but "Look" — and sight comes by looking!
2. The look of illumination. "They looked unto Him, and were enlightened: and their faces were not ashamed" (Psalm 34:5). Faith's looking unto Christ is the grand means of blessing appointed by God: pardon and peace, light and liberty, are obtained thereby. Of old, Job said, "Lo, all these things works God oftentimes with man — to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living" (Job 33:29-30). He does so by the power of His Spirit working in us, faith upon Christ. God announced concerning His beloved Son, "I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles" (Isa 49:6). And in due time, the Sun of righteousness arose "with healing in his wings" (Mal 4:2), putting an end to the night of darkness for many a soul. By His Gospel, He declares, "I am come a light into the world, that whoever believes on me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46). Then look unto Him — and you too shall be divinely illumined: your faith shall not be confounded, nor your face covered with confusion.
3. The look of supplication. "But our eyes are upon you" (2 Chronicles 20:12). The setting of those words is very striking. A great army of the heathen had gathered together to do battle against Judah. When their king was informed, he "set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast" (verse 3). Then, in the hearing of the congregation, he addressed himself unto the God of their fathers, saying, "O our God, will you not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon you!" (verse 12).
It was an earnest appeal unto the omnipotent One by those in the place of conscious weakness and helplessness. It was likewise an expression of humble but confident faith. It was also an expectation of help from the Almighty. Nor was this simple but affecting supplication in vain. Of course it was not! Jehovah made answer: "Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours — but God's" (verse 15). He caused the enemy to fall upon themselves, "and none escaped" (verse 24). There is the grand remedy for every strait. No matter how desperate the situation — nothing is too hard for the LORD! Turn unto Him the eyes of faith, of dependence, of reliance, of confident expectation — and you will not be disappointed.
4. The look of transformation. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This "beholding" is not simply one of faith — but especially of holy ambition and resolve. As the believer contemplates the moral perfection and character of Christ as they are set forth in the Word — there is born within him a deep yearning to be conformed to His likeness and to "walk, even as he walked" (1 John 2:6). As that yearning persists and is accompanied by earnest prayer, the Holy Spirit works in him a deeper spirit of obedience, causing him to be increasingly regulated by Christ's example and precepts, and thereby "changes" him, little by little, unto the same image. The Greek verb for "change" here is rendered "transformed" in Romans 12:2, and "transfigured" in Matthew 17:2. As the will is brought into subjection to Christ — we drink into His Spirit and become partakers of His holiness. This lifelong process will be completed when "we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2), "face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
5. The look of inspiration. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher [better, "Leader and Captain"] of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:2). In Hebrews 10:32, the apostle began to set before suffering, tried, and persecuted saints — a number of considerations calculated to nerve them for the conflict and stimulate unto the continued performance of duty. Throughout chapter 11, he showed how faith was what animated the Old Testament worthies. As a climax, he reminded them of the Savior, who supplied the perfect example of faith and fortitude under unparalleled suffering. When, then, you grow weary of running the race set before you — look unto your Leader and draw inspiration from Him — see Hebrews 12:3-4. Do as He did: look beyond the present sorrows to "the joy" awaiting you; see above the painful cross — an eternal crown prepared for him who "endures to the end" (Mat 10:22). It is by so looking unto our great Exemplar, by devoutly contemplating His spirit of self-sacrifice and steadfastness, that we obtain strength to bear the hardships of the way.
6. The look of expectation. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). That is a very different thing from having the mind engaged with signs of the times or charmed with the study of prophecy; or even being on the alert for the next appointed item on the divine program. It is concerned not so much with an event — as with the advent of a Person.
The second coming of Christ is ridiculed by the infidel (2 Peter 3:2-4) and dreaded by the world (2 Thessalonians 1:8); but it is regarded by the saints with great delight, for then will be the perfecting of their salvation (Hebrews 9:26). Titus 2:13 describes a spiritual attitude of heart. It is an attitude of faith — and faith is not influenced by sensational items taken from the newspapers! It is an attitude of hope — joyous anticipation of our being rid of sin. It is an attitude of love, so that we cry, "Make haste, my beloved, and be like to a roe or to a young deer upon the mountains of spices" (Song 8:14).
Such looking . . .
weans the heart from the world (Heb 11:9-10),
produces patience in trials (Jam 5:6-8), and
purifies the heart (1 John 3:3).
Therein we may behold the practical side of our blessed hope. Such an expectation of the returning Savior works in us a careful attention to our conduct, that we may "not be ashamed before him at his coming" (1 John 2:28).
7. The look of consummation. "As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness" (Psalm 17:15). That is the ultimate longing of every believer — to behold the King in His beauty and forever gaze upon His blessed features! Such too is His desire — to have us with Him, beholding His glory (John 17:24) — nothing less will satisfy the eternal Lover of our souls. In a real sense, believers discern something of the glory of Christ even now — but oh, how feebly and faintly! But hereafter, we shall look upon Him without hindrance or interruption. That will be the fruition of our hope — to have immediate communion with Him. That will fill us with joy, and make us overflow with praise. Oh, how altogether lovely will He appear, when we see Him no longer "through a glass, darkly [obscurely]" — but "face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12)!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Repent or perish

Repent or Perish (Luke 13:5)
"These were the words of the incarnate Son of God. They have never been cancelled; nor will they be as long as this world lasts. Repentance is absolute and necessary if the sinner is to make peace with God (Isa. 27:5), for repentance is the throwing down the weapons of rebellion against Him. Repentance does not save, yet no sinner ever was or ever will be saved without it. None but Christ saves, but an impenitent heart cannot receive Him."
~ Arthur Pink, "Repent or Perish"

Monday, November 12, 2018

the god of popular christianity

Sudden death

Men harden themselves. Am I talking to you? Every time God warns you, do you grit your teeth and spit in His face, and go on down the road that leads to Hell? You know, you have to harden yourself to do that! 
I remember in a certain city after I had brought a message one morning in an evangelistic campaign, I was shaking hands with some people, and I felt something pulling on my coat. So I looked down and there was a little three-and-a-half-year-old girl, curly haired and beautiful, a little gift from heaven. And I picked her up in my arms and she put her little arms around my neck and began to cry, "Oh, Brother Barnard, I want my daddy to get saved!" Now the little girl didn't know exactly what it meant to be saved, but she knew that life in her home was hell, and she knew something needed to happen to her daddy. She was pitiful and she just broke my heart. Her mother soon came and she began to sob, and she took the little girl out of my arms .
Then I said to this wife and mother, "I will be on the radio this afternoon at three o'clock." I said, "Your husband curses preachers, he curses God and he has ordered me and your pastor out of his home. He never goes to any assembly of God anywhere, and he brags about how tough he is; but sometimes he will listen to the radio. You make it convenient, and maybe he will listen to me this afternoon and I am going to preach to him." Well, that afternoon over that radio I stopped about the middle of my sermon and asked the audience to pardon me. I said, "I believe there is a man listening to the sound of my voice now, and I believe God sent him the last call this morning." Then I told over that radio how that little threeand-a-half-year-old girl had come and climbed up in my arms and put her arms around my neck and cried, "Oh, Brother Barnard, I want my daddy to get saved, I want my daddy to get saved." I said, "I believe that daddy of the little girl is listening to me now." I said, "You wouldn't listen to God, you haven't listened to the pleas of your wife and little child. You haven't listened to anybody, but now here is God talking to you through the tears and heartbreak of your little three-and-a-half-year-old girl. If there is a spark of manhood in you, get down on your knees and begin to repent of your sins and cry to God for mercy!"
You know what he did? He got up and turned that radio off, slammed his hat on his head, opened the door and cursed me, cursed the radio, cursed God and cursed his wife. And slammed out of there, and went to the nearest honkytonk, and within 20 minutes after he got out of the house, a man pumped five bullets into his body. You say, "That was accidental." No, sir! Bless the Lord, "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck." What is going to happen to him? Judgment is coming! God is going to get a hold of him as He did that man. God kills people who harden themselves against Him.
The result of hardening yourself under the reproving, convicting, pleading, persuading power, and the Person and Presence of God in the Holy Ghost, is sudden death. God warns. He said, "I kill and I make alive." 

Rolfe Barnard

Does this offend you?

Rolfe Barnard

In the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, we have a running controversy between the Lord Jesus Christ and the religious leaders of the Jewish people. After the marvelous miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, our Lord begins to teach the people who followed Him in great numbers at this time, and here his teaching was very offensive and became a stumbling stone to the leaders of the people of His day. This morning I want to take out of this sixth chapter of John a few things that my Lord taught that were offensive to people then — and also very offensive to people today.
As a text, let's read John 6:59-61:
"These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it? When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Does this offend you?"
Does this offend you? Everything my Lord Jesus did when He was here in this world offended somebody — and you know He is still offensive today. He is the rock of offense (Romans 9:33). For instance, His birth in a stable in Bethlehem was offensive. My, my, the Lord of Glory has no business being born in a cow stall! And that is offensive even today! Also, His common heritage offended men. He didn't come from the high and mighty, and one person upon learning that Jesus was from the little province of Nazareth is quoted as saying, "Can any good thing come out of Galilee?" His death on the cross of Calvary was offensive then and it is offensive now (Galatians 5:11). His second coming is offensive to so many religious people. It was offensive then — and it is offensive today.
And here in our text we find that His preaching greatly offended people of His day. On many occasions when our Lord would speak, the people became so angry that they'd take up stones to stone Him. How then does the modern-day preacher hope to get along with the world and please the unsaved crowd, when they hated the Lord Jesus with such fury that they nailed Him to a cross? My dear friends, the world loves it own — it hates God's people — it always has and it always will. Listen to John 15:19, "If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
In verse 26, our Lord began preaching to the people. And after He brought this message, the people said as I read in our text, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" This is just too much for us! Our Lord met that quibble by asking, "Does this offend you?" And then He brought some more blessed truth (verses 62-65), and then the crowd of about five thousand men, plus women and children, walked off and left Him. And then my Lord turned to the twelve and said, "Will ye also go away?" The crowd was offended by His Gospel — they stumbled at His Gospel. Everything they clung to was being attacked by His teaching on this occasion. And my friends, the Gospel of God's sovereign grace — the Gospel of God acting in sovereignty offends people today just as much as it did here in John six. Yes, it offended people then, and it offends people now. It will either drive people to the Saviour, or it will drive them away from Him. The Gospel will either save or it will condemn. But, blessed be God, the preaching of God acting in sovereign grace will always accomplish the purpose whereunto God Almighty has sent it!
Now may we look into this message and see three great foundation truths that our Lord preached at the height of His ministry — and lost His crowd. As you follow me with your open Bible, I call your attention to these truths. Note, first of all:
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ Preached the Sovereignty of God
Listen to John 6:37-38, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." My friends, there is sovereignty. There is God's will being done. There is Christ coming down here appointed and delegated and set apart to accomplish the will of a sovereign God, Who must do and will do that which seemeth good in His own sight! (See Matthew 11:25-27)
Yes, when our Lord was here as God's Prophet, there is one thing certain: He put God Almighty on the throne in His preaching. It made those people angry, and it does so today. Any time on earth that any preacher anywhere enthrones God Almighty in his preaching, proclaiming the sovereignty which belongs to Him in all things, it will certainly offend the pride of old sinful unregenerated man — I do not care whether he is a church member, or not. Religious or not, if he is unregenerated, the sovereignty of God (just the mention of it!) will offend him. And when a preacher in this modern day dares to stand for the great teaching of God acting as seemeth good in His sight — the Gospel of the glory of God, which is the Gospel of the sovereign grace of God (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15-16) — it will be offensive! And today, when we take the crown off the head of sinful man, and put it on the head of a sovereign, holy God, the fur begins to fly, and all hell will break loose!
Men today hate the sovereignty of God and it is offensive to their old proud hearts because it leaves them as paupers before a God Who does as He pleases, when He pleases, and to whom He pleases! But, my friends, God's will is going to be done in all matters, whether in heaven or in the earth. The Apostle Paul says that God "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). The Apostle James says, "For ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:15). And the Apostle John says, "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will" (Revelation 17:17). And again, the Apostle Paul says, "I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will" (I Corinthians 4:19).
My friends, you and I need desperately to be conformed to the will of God in all things — but the people in my Lord's time grew angry and were offended because the Lord Jesus demanded that they be conformed to the will of God. They openly rebelled against these demands, exactly as men do today. But, dear ones, God Almighty never has saved a man on man's terms. God always saves sinners on His own terms! Does this offend you?
There are many within reach of our radio broadcasts who are greatly offended. We hear on every hand that so-called Christian schools are coming out flatly to say that the great doctrines of grace will not be taught in their classrooms! And so such schools are manufacturing young preachers to go out and deny the very things that the Lord Jesus Christ solemnly set His stamp upon when He was here. And one of these truths is that the will of God is done — that man must bow to the will of God — that God does not take man into His counsel as to what He has decided to do — that God is very God, on the throne, and man must bow at His footstool! Does this offend you? The sovereignty of God was very offensive in the days of my Lord here on earth — and it is very offensive now.
Let's look in this chapter at a second great foundation truth that our Lord preached that day and lost His crowd.
2. Our Lord Jesus Christ Preached the Total Depravity of Man and Man's Inability
My Lord said in John 6:44, "No man can come to Me." Strange language, but that's what He said. "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him." The Scriptures say a little later in this chapter, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it?"
You know, my Lord put man down in the gutter of his total depravity, dead in trespasses and sin, depraved and corrupt — and this sort of preaching greatly offended men. My Lord put man in a spiritual grave unable to rise in his own strength. My Lord put man on a cripple's bed unable to walk. In His preaching, my Lord put man on a blind man's stool unable to see. And the people of His day were greatly offended — and people today are likewise greatly offended.
I tell you, dear ones, this is no time to be denying these great truths. My Lord taught them and I do not care if every preacher in the country says, "Well, Brother Barnard, they just can't be preached today." My Lord preached these truths. "Well," you say, "Brother Barnard, they offend people." I know, but my Lord preached them, and surely we would not be ashamed of any great truth that my Lord Jesus Christ preached when He was down here in controversy with religious leaders. HE dared to preach these things.
And I say to you that instead of this being a time to deny these great truths and skirt around them, it's time we preachers today deserted the modern high-pressure methods of trying to get men into the kingdom of God. And it's time we went back to the Bible way of Holy Spirit regeneration and Holy Spirit conviction. I say it with shame that most preachers today will say, "Oh, yes, Brother Barnard, I believe that God has elected His people to salvation from before the foundation of the world, and I believe that as we preach the Word the Holy Spirit will effectually call out God's sheep and I believe that no man can come to the Father except the Holy Spirit draw him." But saying all this, they'll turn around and use every high-pressure method known to man to pull countless numbers of poor unregenerated sinners down the aisle during an invitation and duck them beneath the baptismal water.
Thousands of children are being sinned against in our modern-day decision services held in the so-called revival meetings. The Sunday Schoolteacher sits by the little child (I'm describing how it goes on in your church, sister!) — and when the preacher asks who wants to go to Heaven, the Sunday School teacher pushes the little fellow out of the pew and down the aisle. And I say to you, it is a sin against that child who has experienced no Holy Spirit conviction nor repentance, without which there is no salvation.
Let me say it and say it again, that man is a dead depraved child and can no more save himself than a demon in Hell could! The Holy Spirit must quicken him and awaken him and bring him to see his lost condition. Then the Holy Spirit reveals the Lord Jesus to that sinner as his Lord and Saviour. And when this takes place, bless God, you won't have to pull him down an aisle. He'll confess openly the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
My dear preacher brother, you have never convicted and you have never saved a single sinner and you never will! The Lord God of Heaven is the only Author and the only Executor of salvation. "Salvation is of the Lord!" (Jonah 2:9)
Oh how men do need to hear the truth about themselves today! The Lord told these people the truth about themselves and it greatly offended them — but the Lord told them! — and they left Him — but the Lord told them! — and they wouldn't listen to Him anymore — but the Lord told them about their awful condition. So helplessly bound by the cords of their own love of self and their own sinful practices that they couldn't come to the Lord except the Lord draw them with the cords of His eternal love. Does this offend you? Does this offend you?
And now in John six we come to another great truth that our Lord preached, and when the people heard it they said, "We just can't take any such teaching as this!" Therefore, "From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him." How sad that is! But the Lord didn't pull His punches. The Lord was telling them the truth and being true to their souls. The Lord was pointing them to the kind of God He really is and the kind of people they were — and now He points them to the true way of salvation. For in the sixth chapter, when people left Him in such numbers,
3. Our Lord Jesus Christ Preached the Blood Atonement
In verse 54, "Whosoever eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Now, my dear ones, that was an offensive truth then and it is still offensive today. The people in the days of our Lord resented what our modernists refer to as a "slaughterhouse gospel." These religious people had read in the old Scriptures how that the Christ, the Messiah, was to live and reign forever, how His was a kingdom that could never end, so they could not go along with this idea of the death of the cross and the atoning blood.
How offensive the proclamation of the cross is today! Preach works and people will applaud you. Preach baptism and you can form your own denomination. Preach church membership and you'll get along fine. Preach the social religion — or most anything you want to preach — and people will applaud, but God will be offended. But, my brother, if you preach the cross — proclaim the death of death on that cross — preach it in all of its offense and shame — preach it in its humiliation — preach it in its goriness, its bloodiness — and then preach the cross in its victory. I say to you, then God will applaud, but the people will be offended.
But the Apostle Paul said what we must say, "I'd rather please God than men," and this is one time we want to say, "Move over, Paul, and let me join you!"
The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed blood atonement. He said the blood has been shed. It was God's blood — holy blood — precious blood — it was Divinely sent blood — saving blood — redeeming blood. The blood atonement means the life laid down, it means the offering up of the Lord of glory! And He said this was the only basis on which a Holy God could deal with sinful men. Not upon your goodness, but upon the basis of His life laid down — that's how God deals with sinners.
My sinner friend, may God speak to your heart today. Don't join the church members and preachers all over this country who get fighting mad at the Word of God and these great truths we've mentioned to you today. How they do scoff at anyone who dares to preach that God Almighty is very God — the God of absolute sovereignty. How they do make fun of anybody who dares to talk about the desperate condition of lostness under which sinners are bound today. And how they do skirt around the awful implications of the death on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Oh, my sinner friend, don't join this religious crowd the record of whom is given here in John chapter six. When they heard our Lord preach these blessed truths, they took it out on Him! They said, "We won't listen to that! We'll skee-daddle away from here! We'll go and get us a preacher who will prophesy unto us smooth things!" Don't you be offended, sinner friend. No, sir! Don't you do it! It'll cost you your soul! I tell you the cost of being offended at the truth as it flows from the lips of Christ is to go to Hell. Don't be offended at the proclamation of the Gospel of God's sovereign grace! I say to you, there is no other way for a sinner to be saved. I say to you that man is lost, that, man is corrupt, man is vile without one thing to offer God. And, like dear Brother Spurgeon, we like to quote that hymn very often:
"In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling."
That's your only hope, sinner! You have nothing to offer. But Christ died, yea, rather Christ is risen again and sitteth on the right hand of God. If you could but believe that He died for you and paid your sin debt and satisfied the Holiness of God for you, you would come to Him in utter surrender. I pray that you can. That old song,
"What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
That song is still true — eternally true! And I pray that you won't be offended at the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, but humble yourself in the sight of God, and cry unto Him for mercy. That is my prayer in the name of Him Who loved us and bought us with His own precious blood, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.