KNOWLEDGE AND STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES – A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

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KNOWLEDGE AND STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES – A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

A.W. Pink

Am I ‘PROFITING’ from my knowledge and study of the Scriptures, or will it rather prove to be CURSE to me rather than a blessing in the end?

There is grave reason to believe that much Bible reading and Bible study of the last few years has been of no spiritual profit to those who engaged in it. Yea, we go further; we greatly fear that in many instances it has proved A CURSE RATHER THAN A BLESSING! This is strong language, we are well aware, yet no stronger than the case calls for. Divine gifts may be misused, and Divine mercies abused. That this has been so in the present instance is evident by the fruits produced.

Even the natural man may (and often does) take up the study of the Scriptures with the same enthusiasm and pleasure as he might of the sciences. Where this is the case, his store of knowledge is increased, and so also is his pride. Like a chemist engaged in making interesting experiments, the intellectual searcher of the Word is quite elated when he makes some discovery in it; but the joy of the latter is no more spiritual than would be that of the former. So, too, just as the successes of the chemist generally increase his sense of self-importance and cause him to look with disdain upon others more ignorant than himself, such, alas, is often the case with those who have investigated the subjects of Bible numerics, typology, prophecy, etc.

The Word of God may be taken up from various motives. Some read it to satisfy their literary pride. In certain circles it has become both the respectable and popular thing to obtain a general acquaintance with the contents of the Bible, simply because it is regarded as an educational defect to be ignorant thereof. Some read it to satisfy their sense of curiosity, as they might any other book of note. Others read it to satisfy their sectarian pride. They consider it a duty to be well versed in the particular tenets of their own denomination and so search eagerly for proof texts in support of “OUR doctrines.” Yet others read it for the purpose of being able to ARGUE SUCCESSFULLY with those who differ from them. But in all this there is no thought of God, no yearning for spiritual edification, and therefore no real benefit to the soul.

Of what, then, does a true profiting from the Word consist? Does not 2 Timothy 3:16-17, furnish a clear answer to our question? There we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Observe what is here omitted: the Holy Scriptures are given us not for intellectual gratification and carnal speculation, but to furnish unto “all good works,” and that by teaching, reproving, and correcting us.

Now sit down for a moment and ask yourself –

  1. As I read and study the Word of God is it convicting me of the sin in my life?
  2. Does my study of the Word make me sorrow over my sin?
  3. Does my study of God’s Word lead me to confess my sin before God?
  4. Does it produce in me a deep hatred for sin?
  5. Does my study of God’s Word cause in me a forsaking of all known sin?
  6. Does my knowledge of the Scriptures and the reading of it fortify me against all sin?
  7. And finally does my study of God’s Word cause me to practice the OPPOSITE of sin?

And now to particularize . . . .

1. An individual is spiritually profited when the WordCONVICTS HIM OF SIN.This is its first office: to reveal our depravity, to expose our vileness, to make known our wickedness. A man’s moral life may be irreproachable, his dealings with his fellows faultless; but when the Holy Spirit applies the Word to his heart and conscience, opening his sin-blinded eyes to see his relation and attitude to God, he cries, “Woe is me, for I am undone.” It is in this way that each truly saved soul is brought to realize his need of Christ. “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Luke 5:31). Yet it is not until the Spirit applies the Word in Divine power that any individual is made to feel that he is sick, sick unto death.

Such conviction that brings home to the heart the awful ravages which sin has wrought in the human constitution is not to be restricted to the initial experience which immediately precedes conversion. Each time that God blesses His Word to my heart, I am made to feel how far, far short I come of the standard which He has set before me, namely, “Be ye holy in ALL manner of conversation” (I Peter 1:15). Here, then, is the first test to apply: as I read of the sad failures of different ones in Scripture, does it make me realize how sadly like unto them I am? As I read of the blessed and perfect life of Christ, does it make me recognize how terribly unlike Him I am?

2. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word makes him SORROW OVER SIN. Of the stony-ground hearer it is said that he “heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself” (Matt. 13:20,21); but of those who were convicted under the preaching of Peter it is recorded that they were pricked in their heart (Acts 2:37). The same contrast exists today. Many will listen to a flowery sermon, or an address on “dispensational truth” that displays oratorical powers or exhibits the intellectual skill of the speaker, but which, usually, contains no searching application to the conscience. It is received with approbation, but no one is humbled before God or brought into a closer walk with Him through it. But let a faithful servant of the Lord (who by grace is not seeking to acquire a reputation for his “brilliance”) bring the teaching of Scripture to bear upon character and conduct, exposing the sad failures of even the best of God’s people, and, though the crowd will despise the messenger, the truly regenerate will be thankful for the message which causes them to mourn before God and cry, “Oh, wretched man that I am.” So it is in the private reading of the Word. It is when the Holy Spirit applies it in such a way that I am made to see and feel my inward corruption’s that I am really blessed.

What a word is that in Jeremiah 31:19: “After that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded.” Do you, my reader, know anything of such an experience? Does your study of the Word produce a broken heart and lead to a humbling of yourself before God? Does it convict you of your sins in such a way that you are brought to daily repentance before Him? The paschal lamb had to be eaten with “bitter herbs” (Ex. 12:8); so as we really feed on the Word, the Holy Spirit makes it “bitter” to us before it becomes sweet to our taste. Note the order in Revelation 10:9, “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.” This is ever the experimental order: there must be mourning before comfort (Matt. 5:4); humbling before exalting (I Pet. 5:6).

3. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word leads to CONFESSION OF SIN.The Scriptures are profitable for “reproof” (2Tim. 3:16), and an honest soul will acknowledge its faults. Of the carnal it is said, “For every one that loveth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). “God be merciful to me a sinner” is the cry of a renewed heart, and every time we are quickened by the Word (Psa. 119) there is a fresh revealing to us and a fresh owning by us of our transgressions before God. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). There can be no spiritual prosperity or fruitfulness (Psa. 1:3) while we conceal within our breasts our guilty secrets; only as they are freely owned before God, and that in detail, shall we enjoy His mercy.

There is no real peace for the conscience and no rest for the heart while we bury the burden of unconfessed sin. Relief comes when it is fully unbosomed to God. Mark well the experience of David, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psa. 33:3,4). Is this figurative but forcible language unintelligible unto you? Or does your own spiritual history explain it? There is many a verse of Scripture which no commentary save that of personal experience can satisfactorily interpret. Blessed indeed is the immediate sequel here: “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psa. 32:5).

4. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word produces in him A DEEPER HATRED OF SIN.“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil” (Psa. 97: 10). “We cannot love God without hating that which He hates. We are not only to avoid evil, and refuse to continue in it, but we must be up in arms against it, and bear towards it a hearty indignation” (C. H. Spurgeon). One of the surest tests to apply to the professed conversion is the heart’s attitude towards sin. Where the principle of holiness has been planted, there will necessarily be a loathing of all that is unholy. If our hatred of evil be genuine, we are thankful when the Word reproves even the evil which we suspected not.

This was the experience of David: “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:128). Observe well, it is not merely “I abstain from,” but “I hate”; not only “some” or “many,” but “EVERY false way”; and not only “every evil,” but “every FALSE way.” “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:128). But it is the very opposite with the wicked: “Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee” (Psa. 50:17). In Proverbs 8:13, we read, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil,” and this godly fear comes through reading the Word: see Deuteronomy 17:18, 19. Rightly has it been said, “Till sin be hated, it cannot be mortified; you will never cry against it, as the Jews did against Christ, Crucify it, Crucify it, till sin be really abhorred as He was” (Edward Reyner, 1635).

5. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word causes A FORSAKING OF SIN. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2: 19). The more the Word is read with the definite object of discovering what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord, the more will His will become known; and if our hearts are right with Him the more will our ways be conformed thereto. There will be a “walking in the truth” (3 John 4). At the close of 2 Corinthians 6 some precious promises are given to those who separate themselves from unbelievers. Observe, there, the application which the Holy Spirit makes of them. He does not say, “Having therefore these promises, be comforted and become complacent thereby,” but “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2 Cor. 7:1).

“Now ye are CLEAN through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). Here is another important rule by which we should frequently test ourselves: Is the reading and studying of God’s Word producing a PURGING of my ways? Of old the question was asked, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” and the Divine answer is “by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Yes, not simply by reading, believing, or memorizing it, but by the personal application of the Word to our “way.” It is by taking heed to such exhortations as “Flee fornication” (I Cor. 6:18), “FLEE from idolatry” (I Cor. 10:14). “FLEE these things”-a covetous love for money (I Tim. 6:11), “FLEE also youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22), that the Christian is brought into practical separation from evil; for sin has not only to be confessed but “forsaken” (Prov. 28: 13).

6. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word FORTIFIES AGAINST SIN.The Holy Scriptures are given to us not only for the purpose of revealing our innate sinfulness, and the many, many ways in which we “come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), but also to teach us how to obtain deliverance from sin, how to be kept from displeasing God. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I MIGHT NOT SIN against thee” (Psa. 119:11). This is what each of us is required to do: “Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart” (Job 22:22). It is particularly the commandments, the warnings, the exhortations, we need to make our own and to treasure; to memorize them, meditate upon them, pray over them, and put them into practice. The only effective way of keeping a plot of ground from being overgrown by weeds is to sow good seed therein: “Overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). So the more Christ’s Word dwells in us “richly” (Col. 3: 16), the less room will there be for the exercise of sin in our hearts and lives.

It is not sufficient merely to assent to the veracity of the Scriptures, they require to be received into the affections. It is unspeakably solemn to note that the Holy Spirit specifies as the ground of apostasy, “BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH” (2 Thess. 2:10). “If it lie only in the tongue or in the mind, only to make it a matter of talk and speculation, it will soon be gone. The seed which lies on the surface, the fowls in the air will pick up. Therefore hide it deeply; let it get from the ear into the mind, from the mind into the heart; let it soak in further and further. It is only when it hath a prevailing sovereignty in the heart that we receive it in the love of it-when it is dearer than our dearest lust, then it will stick to us” (Thomas Manton).

Nothing else will preserve from the infections of this world, deliver from the temptations of Satan, and be so effective a preservative against sin, as the Word of God received into the affections, “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psa. 37:31). As long as the truth is active within us, stirring the conscience, and is really loved by us, we shall be kept from falling. When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). The Word was in his heart, and therefore had prevailing power over his lusts. The ineffable holiness, the mighty power of God, who is able both to save and to destroy. None of us knows when he may be tempted: therefore it is necessary to be prepared against it. “Who among you will give ear . . . and hear FOR THE TIME TO COME?” Isa. 42:23). Yes, we are to anticipate the future and be fortified against it, by storing up the Word in our hearts for coming emergencies.

7. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word causes him to PRACTICE THE OPPOSITE OF SIN.“Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). God says “Thou shalt,” sin says “I will not”; God says “Thou shalt not,” sin says “I will.” Thus, sin is rebellion against God, the determination to have my own way (Isa. 53 :6). Therefore sin is a species of anarchy in the spiritual realm, and may be likened unto the waving of the red flag in the face of God. Now the opposite of sinning against God is submission to Him, as the opposite of lawlessness is subjection to the law. Thus, to practice the opposition of sin is to walk in the path of obedience. This is another chief reason why the Scriptures were given: to MAKE KNOWN the path which is pleasing to God for us. They are profitable not only for reproof and correction, but also for “instruction in righteousness.”

Here, then, is another important rule by which we should frequently test ourselves. Are my thoughts being formed, my heart controlled, and my ways and works regulated by God’s Word? This is what the Lord requires: “Be ye DOERS OF the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). This is how gratitude to and affection for Christ are to be expressed: “If ye love me, KEEP my commandments” (John 14:15). For this, Divine assistance is needed. David prayed, “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments” (Psa. 119:35). “We need not only light to know our way, but a heart to walk in it. Direction is necessary because of the blindness of our minds; and the effectual impulsions of grace are necessary because of the weakness of our hearts. It will not answer our duty to have a naked notion of truths, unless we embrace and pursue them” (Manton). Note it is “the PATH of thy commandments”: not a self-chosen course, but a definitely marked one; not a public “road,” but a private “path.”

Let both writer and reader honestly and diligently measure himself, as in the presence of God, by the seven things here enumerated. Has your study of the Bible made you more humble, or more proud-proud of the knowledge you have acquired? Has it raised you in the esteem of your fellow men, or has it led you to take a lower place before God? Has it produced in you a deeper abhorrence and loathing of self, or has it made you more complacent? Has it caused those you mingle with, or perhaps teach, to say, I wish I had your KNOWLEDGE of the Bible; or does it cause you to PRAY, Lord give me the faith, the grace, the HOLINESS Thou hast granted my friend, or teacher?

‘Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting MAY APPEAR unto all’ (I Tim. 6:15).

 

Quotes on Thanksgiving

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Quotes on Thanksgiving

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake.
If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” [Charles Haddon Spurgeon]

“Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness.”
[Robert Casper Lintner]

“Our rural ancestors, with little blest, patient of labor when the end was rest, indulged the day that housed their annual grain, with feasts, and offerings, and a thankful strain.”
[Alexander Pope]

“Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!”
[Henry Ward Beecher]

“A thanksgiving-day hath a double precedency of a fast-day.
On a fast-day we eye God’s anger; on a thanksgiving-day we look to God’s favor.
In the former we specially mind our corruptions; in the latter, God’s compassions;
therefore a fast-day calls for sorrow, a thanksgiving-day for joy.
But the Lord’s day is the highest thanksgiving day.”
[George Swinnock ]

“The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reason for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.”
[Warren Wiersbe]

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
[John Greenleaf Whittier]

“It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular.
Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day.
Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful ‘in general.’
It’s very strange. It’s a little like being married in general.”
[Cornelius Plantingua, Jr.]

“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.” [Unknown]

“Taking for granted all the temporal provisions and spiritual blessings
that God has so richly bestowed on us,
and so failing to continually give thanks, is one of our “acceptable sins” [Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins]

“O Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!” [William Shakespeare]

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” [Psalm 150:6]

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”
[Frank A. Clark]

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
[Apostle Paul – 1 Timothy 2:1, 2]

“Praise is the best auxiliary to prayer; and he who most bears in mind what has been done for him by God will be most emboldened to supplicate fresh gifts from above.”
[Henry Melville]

“If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that.
But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?”
[Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe]

“Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns.”
[Anonymous]

“He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.”
[Charron]

“Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of vices.”
[Thomas Fuller]

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
[Apostle Paul – 2 Corinthians 9:15]

“Do not fancy, as too many do, that thou canst praise God by singing hymns to Him
in church once a week, and disobeying Him all the week long.
He asks of thee works as well as words; and more, he asks of thee works first and words after.”
[Charles Kingsley]

“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory;
awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.”
[David – Psalm 57:7 – 9]

“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to happiness and all perfection,
he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything
that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you,
if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.”
[William Law]

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren
to learn thanksgiving at an early age.
Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality …
thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.”
[Sir John Templeton]

“For a Christian thanksgiving, we must give thanks.”
[Unknown]

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you,
as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness,
nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
[Apostle Paul – Ephesians 5:3, 4]

“Thank you, dear God
For all You have given me,
For all You have taken away from me,
For all You have left me.”
(unknown)

RELIGIOUS ROCK … The music of devils in the CHURCH!!!

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RELIGIOUS ROCK … The music of devils in the CHURCH!!!

By Alan Yusko and Ed Prior

In the world of biology, we are given the example of a frog that when placed into boiling water, will immediately jump out. However, if that same frog is put into a bowl of cool water which is slowly heated by a bunsen burner, the frog will eventually boil to death.

Religious rock and roll is like the frog and the water. The term “rock and roll” means fornication. It is a street name for sexual immorality. It has wrecked the lives of many teenagers through suicide, drug abuse, immorality, perversion, satanism, etc. Sadly, we live in a day where many Christians and church leaders are allowing this demonic music into their churches, claiming that the music is holy and sanctified because the lyrics are changed to include some ‘religious’ words.
Where is the discernment in the church? Are Christians losing their ability to discern the difference between good and evil? The fact that this demonic music even made it into the church is proof of the moral and spiritual decline affecting the church today. We are being invaded by hard rock, acid rock, punk rock, new wave, and heavy metal music under the guise of religious rock and roll.

God says in His Word:
“O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deut 5:29).

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:6-8).
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13).

Satan was created a beautiful musical creature: “…every precious stone was thy covering,…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created” (Ezek 28:13). Since music was built into his very nature are we foolish enough to assume that he will not use it to deceive and enslave?
We are told by the religious rockers that we must look and sound like the world in order to reach the youth of this generation. They say, many young people will not listen to the gospel or come to church so we must meet them on some common ground. That common ground is rock and roll.

In other words, they are saying that preaching of the Word of God is no longer sufficient for both young and old. If this is true, then we should open bars in order to reach the multitudes of drinkers. We should open porno-shops in order to reach those who engage in smut. Shouldn’t we go to their level so we can bring them to the Lord Jesus Christ? So what if we do evil if the end result is good? What’s a little compromise with God’s standards of holiness and separation if it results in souls being saved?… This type of reasoning is one of the doctrines of demons that Christians are accepting. Does it not make sense that the same Bible that has worked sucessfully to this time, will continue to work for both the young and the old?

How many Christians love God’s people enough to say, “no more! Throw this satanic filth out of the church and back into hell where it belongs”? Do you realize that just 10 years ago this evil music would not have even remotely been considered as a suitable method to sing and praise God. That type of music would have been immediately thrown out of the churches. What we are witnessing today is the spiritual and moral degeneration that is affecting Christians to the degree that many no longer have any discernment between good and evil.

RELIGIOUS ROCK: A BRIEF HISTORY

“Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment” (Malachi 2:17). “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2). “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt 24:12).

The same spirit of rock and roll which includes: the spirit of rebellion, the spirit of immorality and perversion, and the spirit of death is now being brought into the churches under the guise of religious rock and roll.

Remembering the example of the frog, the water, and the bunsen burner: the devil first turned on his bunsen burner when he introduced “Christian” contemporary music into the church. Within this scope of music there were many areas of “grey” as the church lightly began to assimiliate the style and sound of the devil’s rock and roll music. The bunsen burner continued to burn and the water slowly heated up. Next, Satan slowly introduced hard rock and roll into the churches. Once this religious rock and roll gained acceptance the devil turned up the flame on his bunsen burner. He then brought in religious heavy metal, religious acid rock, religious new wave, and religious punk rock. Again since Satan did it slowly, he was able to gain acceptance for his demonic music. Today the water is boiling and many in the church have accepted his deception. Pastors and church leaders, who ought to know better, bring this filth into their churches believing the deception that God can use this evil for His glory.

LOSS OF DISCERNMENT

One definite cause for the lack of discernment is the television set. The technology of television itself is not evil. However, TV programs are energized by either God or Satan. Most of the programs on television present morals, lifestyles, and attitudes that are contrary and opposed to the Word of God. Television is now glorifying evil, murder, violence, occultism, immorality, and perversion while at the same time Christianity and godly standards are mocked and belittled. Today millions of unbelievers sit in front of their TV sets laughing and mocking at what once was considered sacred. The tragedy of all this is that Christians are blinded and hardened as they spend hours sitting at home parked in front of their TV’s getting ministered to by the devil. While Christians sit and watch shows that deep down they know God would not approve of, they slowly go further from God and closer to the world.

The children are not spared either as most of the Saturday morning cartoons have evil, occultic story lines. Along with TV, other factors contributing to the loss of discernment are: little or no daily prayer life and irregular, inconsistent Bible reading. God warns in His Word: “Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (Jer 7:8-10).

Christians have not been delivered from sin and hell in order to partake of abominations. God wants His people to live holy, separated lives in this evil world. The cry through the land is for revival, but how can it come when Christians are in love with their TV’s and rock music? All this is at the expense of Bible reading, prayer, holiness, and separation from evil.

FRUIT OF RELIGIOUS ROCK

This is a partial list of the evil fruit of religious rock and roll music. It is by no means exhaustive.

CONFORMITY: There is a definite pressure to conform to this world rather than to separate oneself from its godless influence. Religious rock is a cheap imitation of secular rock and roll. These religious rockers, like the secular, play their music at the same ear-splitting level and give off the same nightclub bar-room atmosphere with all the coloured lights, smoke pots, and special effects. Little do these religious rockers realize, but as they identify and imitate the secular rock scene they are indirectly giving approval to that type of morality and lifestyle. As a result they are a path of destruction for others. Note: The reason rock and roll is played so loud is because at high decibel levels a person’s conscience and inihibitions are numbed. That individual can be more easily programmed to accept Satan’s standards instead of God’s.

What does God have to say about all this compromise and fellowship with evil? In 2 Cor. 6:14-17 God says: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

After reading this it can be seen that coming out and being separate from evil is not the cheap imitation and monkey-see-monkey-do that the religious rock scene portrays. Again, where is the discernment between good and evil within the church?

SECULAR ROCK AND ROLL:
One definite fruit of religious rock is that it leads it’s followers back to involvement with secular rock. Many Christian young people listen to secular rock radio stations and own secular rock albums in addition to their collection of religious rock and roll. As already pointed out, at religious rock concerts some of the bands play secular rock songs to “warm” up the audience. This exposes Christian young people to all forms of demonic filth and will certainly influence them in a negative way. The danger is that religious rock will lead people away from God, holiness, and a separated lifestyle just as surely as secular rock will lead them to the devil. God says plainly in James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”.

Why would a Christian listen to secular rock & roll?

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl 8:11)….or, maybe they don’t really love the Lord Jesus….or, maybe they are not really born again but merely profess to be a Christian.

The Bible says that Satan was created a beautiful musical creature (Ezek 28:13). Since music was built into his very nature are we foolish enough to assume that he will not use it to deceive and enslave?

Rock comes in a package — it is a package deal! The listener doesn’t just get the music alone. Over time one or more of the following evil fruits will be manifest in the life of the listener:
– Rebellion – Suicide – Homosexuality – Violence – Immoraliy – Blasphemy – Drugs & Alcohol – Occult – Worldliness

The music influences (in a negative, unbiblical way) a persons’: morals, values, and philosophy of life. How does the music do this? The music mesmerizes the listener while Satan puts his ungodly lyrics, morals, and standards into the persons’ mind either directly or by backward masking.

There are no neutral secular rock and roll groups

There is no rock group totally neutral and suitable for Christian listening. Why? Every rock group either directly or indirectly has songs with lyrics that according to God’s standards encourage one or more of the following: rebellion, immorality, drug use, drinking, occultism, suicide, violence, and blasphemy. Name one rock group that does not encourage any form of evil according to God’s standards! It cannot be done.

Does rock music produce: Godliness and purity, a hunger and a thirst for Christ, a broken and contrite heart, conviction for sin, or a Christ honouring atmosphere? …No, No, No it does not. If rock doesn’t do any of these things, but rather does the opposite, then why would any Christian listen to this music???

The following is a quote by David Wilkerson from his book: SET THE TRUMPET TO THY MOUTH. He is talking about the problem of Religious rock, but it also applies to Christians who partake of secular rock.

“Only the despisers of the Lord Jesus could embrace what He hates. Only the rebellious could purchase one of their records. Only those with a divided heart could go to one of their concerts or view one of their video cassettes. Their video cassettes are demonic and blasphemous. The spirit of mixture and confusion it was born in will slowly possess you and lead you blindly to the altars of Baal. Sneer if you choose, but you have been warned” (page 113,114).

BLIND DEFENSE: Some religious rockers get very angry when they hear someone speak against their demonic music they love so dearly.
If only they would defend, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ as much as their godless music. God says: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15,16).

REBELLION: Many involved in the religious rock scene refuse to listen to correction and rebuke from scripture. They harden their necks and set their mind not to give up their demonic music. It doesn’t seem to concern them that this music is vomit on the table of the Lord and is an abomination to Him.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:…He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings…” (John 14:23-24).

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:17). Christians are a peculiar people and God wants them to live godly, separated, and holy lives in this evil world. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:12).

THE PURPOSE OF MUSIC

Why do the religious rock and rollers not only desire to look and sound like the world but also desire to be accepted by the world? They want to play on MTV and get their songs high on the secular and gospel charts. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 15:19,20 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. It they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;…”. We also read in 2 Tim 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. The previous verses state that Christians will not be loved and accepted by the world because the world in general rejects the Lord Jesus Christ. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather that light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

In light of the Word of God does it not follow to reason that true godly music that worships and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ will be rejected by the world? Music that calls people to repentance, holiness, separation, and total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ will not be popular in the eyes of a Christ-rejecting world.

Now what is the purpose of music? Music has two purposes: 1) to worship and glorify God; 2) To edify and build up Christians. The Word of God says: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col 3:16).

Music is not necessary to win the lost but it is a form of worship and praise to God. In fact, sacred Gospel music is not for the world and it has never been meant for the world. It is for the child of God to worship and praise God. God has not ordained music to win the lost; he has ordained preaching. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor 1:21). The purpose of sacred gospel music is not to draw the unsaved to the Lord Jesus Christ. Sacred music may at times draw the unsaved, but that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to worship and praise God and not to be used as a tool to win the unsaved. The unsaved are drawn to God by the preaching of the Word.

Since music is a form of worship it is corrupted when mixed with carnality. The worship of God must be carried out with holiness and purity. Linking worship to the demonic, sexual, rebellious style of rock and roll is nothing less than blasphemy. God’s demands of righteousness and holiness have never been diminished. Just as it was an abomination to offer to the Lord a blemished lamb for sacrifice, so today it is an abomination to offer to God carnal, worldly, sexual, demonic music as a praise offering.

WARNING –
“Christian Rock” is destructive to the Church as it leads God’s people into sensuality and compromise. If you sincerely love The Lord Jesus Christ and you are involved with this music, then obey the Lord and forsake this unclean thing.

Read the full article . . . .

FROM ITS FIRST STIRRINGS TO ITS FINAL CONSUMMATION, SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!

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FROM ITS FIRST STIRRINGS TO ITS FINAL CONSUMMATION, SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!

Dr. N.R. Needham

Richard was a fairly recent convert to the Augustinian understanding of grace. One Sunday, he visited a church where the preacher seemed to go out of his way to show the congregation how utterly dependent on God they were for their spiritual life. There can be no self-reliance, he declared, no looking to ourselves; all goodness, all holiness flow from God to us. Why, even the very faith by which we believe and trust in God is itself His gift to sinners!

‘This is good,’ Richard thought. ‘The man has clearly grasped the sovereignty of grace in salvation. Augustine would be pleased with him.’ But alas, Richard’s verdict was premature. Suddenly the sermon went sensationally pear-shaped. After all the extolling of God as the giver of faith, the preacher suddenly added: ‘But of course, even though faith is God’s gift, we have to accept the gift by our free wills. We can refuse it if we choose. It’s up to us.’ By the time it was all over, Richard left church feeling rather deflated. ‘It’s up to us’ seemed a strange note on which to conclude a celebration of God’s grace.

Richard was right to feel deflated. If it is ultimately ‘up to us’ to make sure we accept the divine gift of faith, then manifestly God is not the giver of all our spiritual virtues [which is what the preacher in the church Richard was visiting had started out by saying]. Apparently, I have something in me, some act of my own, which reaches out and grasps God’s kind offer of faith. What is this ‘something’? It can’t be faith, because faith is what God is offering to give me. I don’t know how the preacher would have described this mysterious ‘something’. Repentance, perhaps? Can I repent by my own will, and God then crowns my cake of repentance with the icing of faith?

But where did the repentance come from? If I can repent by my own will, why can’t I believe and trust by my own will? Doesn’t the same Scripture that says faith is God’s gift [Eph.2:8, Phil.1:29] also say that repentance is His gift [Acts 5:31, 2 Tim.2:25]? Maybe the preacher would have acknowledged that repentance is God’s gift. But probably it would then have fared no better than faith. Probably the preacher would have said, ‘But of course, even though repentance is God’s gift, we have to accept the gift by our free wills. We can refuse it if we choose. It’s up to us.’

What is it in me that accepts repentance, then? A spiritually softened heart, perhaps? But if I can soften my own heart by my own will [or does that mean ‘soften my will by my own will’?], why can’t I repent by my own will, or believe by my own will? And doesn’t the same Scripture that says faith and repentance are God’s gifts also say that the heart of flesh is His gift [Deut.30:6, Ezek.36:26-27]? Maybe the preacher would have acknowledged that the heart of flesh is God’s gift too. But probably it would then have fared no better than faith and repentance. Probably the preacher would have said, ‘But of course, even though the heart of flesh is God’s gift, we have to accept the gift by our free wills. We can refuse it if we choose. It’s up to us.’

What is it in me that accepts the heart of flesh, then? Is it perhaps…. But we have been here before, and by now it is getting a touch silly. Like some bizarre spiritual board game, we are constantly going one square forwards and two squares backwards. And somehow, we always end up on a square that says, ‘It’s up to us.’

Augustine’s theology of the new life in Christ was really just a way of saying, ‘It’s not up to us.’ Our new life in Christ comes from Christ. From its first stirrings to its final consummation, it comes from Christ. Faith, repentance, the softened heart, and any other virtue that can be named they all come from Christ. Our conversion comes from Christ. Our regeneration comes from Christ. Our spiritual illumination comes from Christ. Our desire for Christ comes from Christ. Our seeking after Christ comes from Christ. As that great Italian Augustinian, Thomas Aquinas, was to teach 800 years after Augustine’s death, NOTHING COMES BEFORE GRACE!

All the things that we might think make us ready for grace are themselves the work of grace. If we insist on talking about ‘accepting grace’, even the acceptance of grace is created in us by grace.
The truth about grace, then, is both simple and radical. The first brick in the foundation of our salvation is laid in us by Christ, just as the last tile on the roof will be. He creates us afresh. He begets us again. He raises us from the dead. At no point can we take any credit to ourselves. No true Christian has the slightest wish to take any credit to himself or herself.

That is why, as I said in the Introduction, all God’s redeemed children are Augustinians when they pray. They may be Semi-Pelagians in their heads, but their twice-born hearts know better, and when they speak to their God, they give Him all the praise, gratitude and glory for saving them. Lex orandi lex credendi: the law of praying is the law of believing.

Of course, if Augustine is right in his understanding of what the Bible says about the bondage of our fallen wills, it follows that our spiritual regeneration must necessarily come only and utterly from Christ. Left to our own devices, all we ever do is sin; for we love created things, not the Creator, and our lives are built on that false love. There is no beauty in Christ that we should desire Him. We are too busy desiring other things. That is why ‘It’s up to us’ is such a tragically hopeless recipe for any kind of salvation.

Scripture describes our salvation as a new creation, a rebirth, a resurrection. Yet God did not say to a non-existent universe, ‘I’m offering to create you, but it’s up to you to accept the offer.’ Parents do not say to non-existent children, ‘We’re offering to conceive you, but it’s up to you to accept the offer.’ The Lord did not say to Lazarus, ‘I’m offering to resurrect you from the tomb, but it’s up to you to accept the offer.’ The depth and horrible complexity of our corruption make just as futile any ‘It’s up to you’ scheme of salvation. If indeed it is ‘up to us,’ whether in the Pelagian sense [obey the law and win heaven!] or the Semi-Pelagian sense [accept the offer of salvation!], then no-one will ever be saved. As Benjamin Warfield commented, a gospel of ‘Whosoever will’ is not much good in a world of universal ‘Won’t!’

Augustine knew that however daintily it is dressed, however carefully it is qualified, however tiny the amount it leaves to us to contribute to our own salvation, ‘It’s up to us’ is always a counsel of hellish despair for sinners deceived and broken and exhausted and blinded and driven mad and killed by sin. He would have none of it, either for himself, or for his flock, or for the Church Catholic. The bishop of Hippo sang loud and clear with his theological mind the song of confession and praise that every saved heart knows well:

‘It’s not up to us! We were dead in our transgressions and sins, in which we used to live when we followed the ways of the world. We were under the power of the prince of this world, the spirit who is now at work in the children of disobedience. We lived among them. We gratified the cravings of the flesh and followed its desires and thoughts. We were by nature the children of wrath, like the rest. But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions.

By grace we have been saved. By grace, through faith and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God. No works. No-one can boast. God Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness!” caused His light to shine in our hearts, giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, shining in the face of Christ. We were foolish, obstinate, deluded, the slaves of various cravings and pleasures, spending our lives in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But the kindness and love of God our Saviour dawned upon us, and He saved us, not in consequence of righteous things we did, but because of His mercy.

Yes, HE SAVED US, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. By grace we are justified. We are new creations in Christ. The old has passed away. The new has come. All this is from God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ. Thanks be to God!’

THE LORD JESUS – THE BELIEVER’S FIRST LOVE

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THE LORD JESUS – THE BELIEVER’S FIRST LOVE

C.H. Spurgeon

“All manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.” [Sos 7:13]

The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has “all manner of pleasant fruits,” both “old and new,” and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores. We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts.

But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did He make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did He buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did He deliver us. Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for His mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which He has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of His blood.

We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point-they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and His glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts. Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when He is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob Thee of one good fruit from the soil which Thou hast watered with Thy bloody sweat. Our all shall be Thine,Thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved! Amen!

CHRISTIANS CAN GRIEVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD

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CHRISTIANS CAN GRIEVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Am I wounding and grieving my God today?

I am if I am entertaining known sin in my life!

The Grace of God not only saves me but teaches me something. And WHAT does it teach me? THIS –

“For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
TEACHING US that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world!” [Titus 2:11,12]

“Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord!” [Hebrews 12:14]

May the Lord give us the grace to do so! In Jesus’ Name Amen!

THE ONLY REASON WE LOVE CHRIST IS BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US!

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THE ONLY REASON WE LOVE CHRIST IS BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US!

C.H. Spurgeon

“We love Him because He first loved us.” [1 John 4:19]

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the Lord Jesus himself.

From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great and certain truth, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us. Our love to Him is “the fair offspring” of His love to us.

Cold admiration, when studying the works of God, anyone may have. But the warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God’s Spirit.

How great the wonder that such as we should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvellous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. No! never should we have had a grain of love towards God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love to us.

Our love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: but after it is thus divinely born, it must “be divinely nourished”.

Love is an exotic– it is not a plant which will flourish naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above. Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither.

As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high.

Love must feed on love.
The very soul and life of our love to God is His love to us.

“I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.”

If Christ has our love…

If Christ has our LOVE He has our ALL; and Christ never has what He deserves from us, until He has our love! True love withholds nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon Him. If we actually love Him, He will have our time, and He will have our service. He will have the use of all our resources, and gifts, and graces. Indeed, then He shall have our possessions, and our very lives, whenever He calls for them.

In the same way, when God loves any of us, He will withhold nothing from us that is truly good for us. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? [Rom.8:32]

When Christ loves us, He gives us everything we need – His merits to justify us, His Spirit to sanctify us, His grace to adorn us and His glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love Christ sincerely, we lay everything down at His feet, and give up all to be at His command and service. ”

“The desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early!” [Isaiah 26:8,9]

AN EXHORTATION TO PERSEVERE

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AN EXHORTATION TO PERSEVERE

A.W. Pink

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” [Galatians 6:9]

Regeneration is but the commencement of the saving operations of the Holy Spirit, and those who are the favored subjects of them are assured that, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ” [Phi 1:6], causing them to grow in grace and become fruitful branches of the Vine.
Yet the divine work of grace in a soul is not carried forward MECHANICALLY without any concurrence on the part of its subjects. It is a fatal error to conclude that because the work of salvation and sanctification is a divine one — that WE have no responsibility in connection therewith. Scripture teaches the very OPPOSITE: we are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling — BECAUSE it is God who works in us [Phi 2:12-13]. Grace is bestowed not to encourage IDLENESS — but to energize unto holy activity. The Spirit of God does not produce APATHY — but stirs those He indwells unto a diligent use of means. The one who was loudest in owning, “But by the grace of God I am what I am,” hesitated not to add, “but I labored more abundantly than they all!” [1 Corinthians 15:10].

God always deals with His people as rational and accountable creatures. Unto those who believed on Him, the Lord Jesus said, “If you CONTINUE in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” [John 8:31], and not merely by lip profession. The apostles returned to their converts, “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them TO CONTINUE in the faith,” warning them that they “must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” [Act 14:22].

Walking that “narrow” way, which is the ONLY ONE “which leads unto life” [Mat 7:14], is not the easy matter which so many vainly imagine. Rather does it call for self-denial, godly fear, circumspection, and persevering effort. “AS you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord — SO walk in him” [Col 2:6] must be heeded by us if we are to make a good continuance. HOW did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord”? By ceasing to fight against Him, and throwing down the weapons of our rebellion. By determining to end a life of self-will, giving ourselves up to Him freely and wholly, consenting to be His forever. By penitently confessing our sins and trusting in His redeeming blood. By coming empty-handed to draw upon His fullness.

How did we “receive” Him? As He is freely offered in the Gospel: “able also to save them to the uttermost all who come unto God by him” [Heb 7:25]. As a whole Christ: a PROPHET to teach, a PRIEST to atone, a KING to reign over us. As a COMPLETE Savior: to deliver from the penalty of sin, cleanse from its pollution, free from its power; to sanctify as well as justify, purify, and ultimately glorify. “SO walk you in him”: continue as you began — in subjection to, in dependence upon Him.

A Gospel FAITH — must issue in Gospel PRACTICE. “Walking in Christ means living OUT OF SELF, in conformity to Him. Only thus do we obtain evidence of having SAVINGLY “received” Him.

The GENUINENESS of faith is always seen in what it PRODUCES. Alas, the WALK of most professing Christians gives the lie to their TALK. A good continuance is only made possible by our regular use of those means of grace which God has appointed for His people.
If the WORD is neglected — the soul will be starved. . . .

If MEDITATION is not practiced — the heavenly manna will not be digested.

If PRAYER be omitted, or performed formally and mechanically — fresh supplies of grace will not be obtained.

Unless the love of God is kept constantly before the heart — the affections will soon cool.

Unless we draw daily upon Christ’s mediatorial fullness — we shall be feeble and incapable of wrestling with our foes.

Unless we tread the path of obedience — Satan will quickly overcome us.

There must also be a RIGHT USE of the means, or they will profit us nothing. The Word itself does not nourish — unless faith be mixed with it [Heb 4:2]. They must be used in a spirit of humble dependence on God, for they avail not apart from His BLESSING upon them. Put them not in the stead of Christ. Trust not in the mere use of them, as though your diligence therein ensured success. Yet they MUST BE USED patiently and perseveringly: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” [Gal 6:9]. Amen!

JACOB HAVE I LOVED, BUT ESAU HAVE I LOVED LESS?!

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JACOB HAVE I LOVED, BUT ESAU HAVE I LOVED LESS?!

Letter to a Sister who was told by a Pastor that God loves everyone, only He loves His Elect with a special love and everyone else with a lesser love.

Thank you for writing dear Sister. This proposition that God loves some less and others more is fairly new, and we must always be wary of these new thoughts and suggestions that arise from even those who may be faithful to other tenets of the Reformed Faith.

For instance there have been some who are otherwise doctrinally sound who have been lately contending that our God is the ‘Author of sin’. And they use a lot of logical and philosophical arguments to try and prove the same. And yet for all that they prove NOTHING!

There ARE mysteries in the Bible. How God can become a man and be God at the same time is a mystery. It is called the ‘great mystery of Godliness’ [1Tim 3:16]. In like manner the origin of sin is a mystery! Scripture in one place calls it ‘the mystery of iniquity’ [2Thes 2:7]. God has deemed it best not to reveal its origin, nor has He claimed to be the Author of it! The best minds in divinity have searched this out for centuries and come to the conclusion, that GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN, though He has decreed it, permitted it in His universe and channels it to His glory!

Those who charge God with this folly only REPROACH AND BLASHEME GOD, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God! And the Day is coming when He shall ask of them – “WHO hath required this at your hand”?! And He will charge them with the same charge as he did Job’s ‘friends’ – ‘Ye have not spoken of Me THE THING THAT IS RIGHT”! [Job 42:7]

Similarly, the Bible does not teach that God loves the Reprobate wicked ‘LESS’ as opposed to loving His Elect a little “MORE”!

Even the beloved Spurgeon was very clear on THIS point. Commenting on that verse – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated!” Spurgeon said –

“It is a terrible text, and I will be honest with it if I can. One man says the word “hate” does not mean hate; it means “love less:”—”Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less.” It may be so: but I don’t believe it is. At any rate, it says “hate” here; and until you give me another version of the Bible, I shall keep to this one.

I believe that the term is correctly and properly translated; that the word “hate” is not stronger than the original; but even if it be a little stronger, it is nearer the mark than the other translation which is offered to us in those meaningless words, “love less.” I like to take it and let it stand just as it is. The fact is, God loved Jacob, and He did not love Esau; He did choose Jacob, but He did not choose Esau; He did bless Jacob, but He never blessed Esau; His mercy followed Jacob all the way of His life, even to the last, but His mercy never followed Esau; He permitted him still to go on in His sins, and to prove that dreadful truth, “Esau have I hated.”

Now THAT is the truth!

Now let me quote a man who in our judgment was faithful to the scripture as a man can be. His writings and life and the rejection of him by the Christendom of his day prove that he like our Lord cared for no man! [Mark 12;14] If you haven’t already guessed it I am speaking of Brother A.W. Pink.

And THIS is what HE had to say about God loving everybody. Believe me, it a theological cop-out to say that “He loves everyone, but some He loves less” etc. It is a mere striving of words! It is akin to saying Christ’s Atonement is sufficient for the whole world but efficient for the elect! Hogwash! Christ’s Atonement is sufficient and efficient for the ELECT ONLY! And usually men make such man pleasing statements in order to evade the offence of the Cross! Sad!

Here is a portion from A.W. Pink about God’s love – “One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that GOD LOVES EVERYBODY, and the very fact that it is so POPULAR with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God’s Love toward ALL His creatures is the fundamental and favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc.

No matter how a man may live—in open defiance of Heaven, with no concern whatever for his soul’s eternal interests, still less for God’s glory, dying, perhaps with an oath on his lips,—notwithstanding, God loves him, we are told. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting is it to the heart which is at enmity with God, we have little hope of convincing many of their error.

That God loves everybody, is, we may say, quite a MODERN belief. The writings of the church-fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans will (we believe) be searched in vain for any such concept. Perhaps the late D. L. Moody—captivated by Drummond’s “The Greatest Thing in the World”—did more than anyone else last century to popularize this concept.

It has been customary to say God loves the sinner, though He hates his sin. But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin? Is it not true that his “whole head is sick”, and his “WHOLE heart faint”, and that “from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” in him? (Isaiah 1:5,6). Is it true that God LOVES the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a HOLY love. To tell the Christ rejector that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience, as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins.

With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus—the perfect Teacher— telling sinners that God loved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! But, when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to THE SAINTS, we have a full presentation of this precious truth—God’s love FOR HIS OWN. Let us seek to RIGHTLY divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and misapplying them to unbelievers.”
– A.W. Pink

Now the Bible does not teach that God loves the reprobate wicked ‘LESS’ than He loves His elect, but on the contrary says “Thou HATEST all workers of iniquity!” (Psalm 5:5) “God is ANGRY with the wicked every day.” “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but THE WRATH of God”—not “shall abide,” but even NOW—”abideth on him” (Psalm 5:5; 7:11, John 3:36). Can God “love” (albeit LOVE LESS) the one on whom His “wrath” abides? Again; is it not evident that the words “The love of God WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS” (Romans 8:39) mark a LIMITATION, both in the sphere and objects of His love?

Get this my dear Sister, “The wicked God “PITIES” (see Matt. 18:33). Unto the unthankful and evil God is “KIND” (see Luke 6:35). The vessels of wrath He ENDURES “with much long-suffering” (see Rom. 9:22). BUT IT IS ONLY “HIS OWN” WHOM GOD “LOVES”! – A.W. Pink

Finally, ask yourself, Is it conceivable that God will continue to LOVE LESS the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them NOW He will do so THEN, seeing that His love (whether less or more) knows no change— for He is “WITHOUT VARIABLENESS or shadow of turning”! [James 1:17]

But what about Mathew 5:43-46? Does it even suggest that God loves everyone but only that He loves the reprobate a little less? God forbid!

The scripture portion in Matthew 5:43-46 does not suggest even faintly that God ‘LOVES’ the non-elect! This same portion is quoted in Luke and there it reads – “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” [Luke 6:35,36]

It would have been easier to say, “Love your enemies as your Father also loves them” But He does not say that!

Yes, God is KIND to the wicked and He is MERCIFUL to the evil and as the Psalmist says, “The LORD is GOOD to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.” [Psalm 145:9] But it ends there . . . IT NEVER EVEN SUGGESTS THAT GOD “LOVES’’ the rebrobate wicked!

Remember God in dealing with His fallen creatures may require of them things which He is not bound by! God may require me to forgive and love my enemies because in a real sense I am no better than them. But GOD is not so bound! His love is always ‘FREE’ and SOVEREIGN! As He says – “I will love them FREELY!” [Hosea 14:4]

So when God requires you to love your enemies it is not because He loves them as well. Yes He is good, kind, and merciful at least on this side of Heaven towards the reprobate. . . . but He NEVER loves them either less or more! As A.W. Pink said long ago – “The love of God, is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs!”

Love
Michael Jeshurun

GOD STILL HAS A REMNANT IN AMERICA!

not-leaving-final

GOD STILL HAS A REMNANT IN AMERICA!

Michael Jeshurun

“Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I HAVE MUCH PEOPLE IN THIS CITY.” [Acts 18:9,10]

That’s right! God still has many of His Elect in America! Elect who have already come to the Lord and Elect who are still yet to come. And all those ordained to eternal life SHALL COME, not one of them shall be lost! For the promise is – “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” [Isa 51:11]

And they SHALL COME because the Lord is not willing that ANY of them should perish!

Now THAT is what that oft misquoted scripture means  – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”[2Pet 3:9]

“Not willing that ANY should perish” does not mean every Tom, Dick and Harry and Jane, Jill and Mary; but all those whom the Father gave to the Son; for whom the Son shed His precious blood on the Cross and whom the Holy Spirit will quicken in His time – His Elect, His chosen, His sheep, His little flock; those who constitute His body! These are a favoured people, being the objects of His Sovereign mercy!

Now as godless as America as a whole is, yet God has His people who are yet to come to Him and be saved! And wherever they may be He shall seek them and find them and gloriously save them! For THAT is His promise – “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out!” [Ezk 34:11]

And when the last of these who are yet to be sought and saved have safely come into the fold THEN God’s time for America or for that matter the rest of the world will be over! For His Spirit shall not always strive with man! [Gen 6:3] Sin MUST be punished and IT WILL BE! For He hath said – “The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God!” [Psalm 9:17]

As Mrs. Graham once said, “If God doesn’t judge America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” And she’s right!

But thank God for His remnant who are still there. And they need our prayers and encouragement. May the good Lord enable His people in America to be strong in Him and the power of His might! Where sin abounds grace doth much more abound! If God has by His providence placed you in a country that is given over to wickedness, then He will supply you with the needed grace to withstand and overcome the wickedness in that place. THAT is what it means that ‘where sin abounds grace doth much more abound’, not just grace to forgive you when you fall but the grace to keep you from falling!

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen!” [Jude 1:24,25]