The Regulative Principle of Scripture – and Sola Scriptura

The Regulative Principle of Scripture – and Sola Scriptura

Brian Schwertley

Because of man’s sinful nature, God’s covenant people often stray from the truth. Men often pervert true religion by eliminating elements in it they find unpleasant. They also pervert it by adding their own ideas to it. This very tendency to corrupt true religion, by addition or subtraction, is why God warned Israel not to add to or subtract from His Word. “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 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” (Deut. 4:1-2).

This passage of Scripture, and others like it, forms the basis for the Protestant reformers’ doctrine of sola Scriptura. That is to say, THE BIBLE ALONE is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.

“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men . . . and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” Therefore, everything that man does is to be based on either the explicit commands of Scripture, deduced by good and necessary consequence (e.g., historical example, implication, etc.) or, if circumstantial, to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word (e.g., time or place to meet, etc.). Moses’ command in Deuteronomy 4:2 is God’s regulative principle, in a broad sense. Man’s ultimate authority and blueprint for life is revealed in the Bible.

The Regulative Principle of Worship

The Bible is our only infallible rule for faith and practice. There
is no area of life where this truth is more applicable than in the area of worship. Before entering the promised land, God told the Israelites how to avoid idolatry and syncretism (i.e., blending or mixing) with pagan worship. “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so I will do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God. . . . What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deut. 12:30-32).

WHATEVER IS NOT COMMANDED BY SCRIPTURE IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD IS FORBIDDEN!

Anything that the church does in worship must have warrant from an explicit command of God, be deduced by good and necessary consequence, or be derived from approved historical example (e.g., the change of day from seventh to first for Lord’s day corporate worship). “As under the Old Dispensation nothing connected with the worship or discipline of the Church of God was left to the wisdom or discretion of man, but everything was accurately prescribed by the authority of God, so, under the New, no voice is to be heard in the household of faith but the voice of the Son of God. The power of the church is purely ministerial and declarative. She is only to hold forth the doctrine, enforce the laws, and execute the government which Christ has given her. She is to add nothing of her own to, and to subtract nothing from, what her Lord has established. Discretionary power she does not possess.”

The view commonly held among Protestant churches today is that anything is permitted in worship, provided it is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible. This was, and is, the accepted view among Episcopalian and Lutheran churches. The early Reformed and Presbyterian churches rejected this view as unscriptural. The Westminster Confession of Faith says, “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men. . . or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.”

What is today called the regulative principle of worship is not something John Calvin or John Knox invented but is simply a divine imperative. It is a crucial aspect of God’s law. “We say that the command to add nothing is an organic part of the whole law, as law, and, therefore, that every human addition to the worship of God, even if it be not contrary to any particular command, is yet contrary to the general command that nothing be added.”

The Unacceptable Offering

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of
the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:3-5).

What was it regarding Cain’s offering that made it unacceptable before God? The preference for Abel’s offering and the rejection of Cain’s was not arbitrary, but based upon past revelation given to Adam and his family. Evidently, God revealed this information to Adam when He killed animals to make coverings for Adam and his wife (Gen. 3:21). Generations later, Noah knew that God would only accept clean animals and birds as burnt offerings to the Lord (Gen. 8:20). Cain, unlike his brother Abel, decided, apart from God’s Word, that an offering of the fruit of the ground would be acceptable before the Lord.

But God rejected Cain’s offering, because it was a creation of his mind. God did not command it; therefore, even if Cain was sincere in his desire to please God, God still would have rejected his offering. God expects faith and obedience to His Word. If God’s people can worship the Lord according to their own will, as long as the man-made ordinances are not expressly forbidden, then could not Cain, Noah or the Levites offer God a fruit salad or a bucket of turnips, for it is nowhere forbidden? And if God wanted a strict regulation of His worship apart from the regulative principle, would it not require hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of volumes telling us what is forbidden? But God, in His infinite wisdom, says, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deut. 12:32).

STRANGE FIRE

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which HE COMMANDED THEM NOT. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1,2).

“WHAT WAS THEIR SIN? Their sin was offering of strange
fire, so the text saith that they offered STRANGE FIRE, which God commanded them not. . . . But had God ever forbidden it? Where do we find that ever God had forbidden them to offer strange fire, or appointed that they should offer only one kind of fire? There is no text of Scripture that you can find from the beginning of Genesis to this place, where God hath said in TERMINUS, in so many words expressly, YOU SHALL OFFER NO FIRE BUT ONE KIND OF FIRE. And yet here they are consumed by fire from God, for offering ‘strange fire.’ ”

Those who reject God’s regulative principle of worship have a real problem explaining this text. Some argue that Nadab and Abihu were condemned because they offered strange incense, for offering strange incense is expressly condemned in Exodus 30:9. But the text does not say “strange incense”, it says “strange fire”. Others argue that they must have been insincere or drunk. But what does the Holy Spirit give us as the reason for their judgment? They offered STRANGE FIRE “which he commanded them not.” When it comes to worshipping God, there must be a warrant out of God’s Word. “All things in God’s worship must have a warrant out of God’s word, [and] must be commanded. It’s not enough that it is not forbidden. . . . Now when man shall put a Religious respect upon a thing, by vertue [sic] of his own Institution when he hath not a warrant from God; Here’s superstition! we must all be WILLING worshipers, but not WIL-worshipers [sic].”

AUTONOMOUS WORSHIP CONDEMNED

“And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the
valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; WHICH I COMMANDED THEM NOT, NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY HEART” (Jer. 7:31; see also, Jer. 19:5).

The Lord condemns the children of Judah’s idolatry and pagan worship with the statement, “which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.” Idolatry, murder and child sacrifice are explicitly condemned in the law and the prophets. Yet, Jeremiah cuts to the essence of idolatrous worship. Judah was worshipping in a manner that did not originate from God’s heart. Judah’s worship was not founded upon God’s command. Rather than worshipping God according to His command, they “walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward” (Jer. 7:24). If the people of Judah had consulted the Word of God and obeyed it, they would have been spared God’s fury. “We have to do with a God who is very jealous; who will be worshipped as He wills, or not at all. Nor can we complain. If God be such a Being as we are taught in the Holy Scripture, it must be His inalienable right to determine and prescribe how He will be served.”

EASTER AND THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE OF WORSHIP

The regulative principle of worship has clear implications for those who want to promote the celebration of Easter. The Regulative Principle forces those who celebrate Easter to prove from Scripture that God has authorized the celebrating of such a day. This, in fact, is impossible. Additionally, celebrating Easter along with its ‘Sunrise service’, Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies is downright PAGAN!

Easter has little to do with real Christianity. Does that surprise you? It should not. For example, Easter was not popular with the Puritans or the Pilgrim settlers in America. Neither Puritans or Pilgrims had use for ceremonies associated with religious festivals invented in either pagan history, or reinvented by Roman Catholicism. In actuality, here in the America’s only after the bloodshed Civil War did Easter “begin again” to be accepted. As Walsh states in his “Holy Time and Sacred Space in Puritan New England” (Walsh, American Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring, 1980), pp. 79-95)

“The New England [Pilgrims] like Reformed Protestants everywhere, rejected traditional Roman Catholic and Anglican beliefs and practices that organized time around consecrated churches, railed-off altars, holy shrines, miraculous wells, and that supposed the flow of time to be an irregular succession of holy days and sacred seasons. The Reformers argued, what was intended as a crutch for others had become a cast for Christians who willingly accepted the obligation of constant worship. They for whom all days are holy can have no holidays.” (See, for example, The Sermons of John Calvin Upon the Fifth Book of Moses called Deuteronomie, trans. Arthur Golding (London: H. Middleton, 1583).

The Post Reformation pastors and theologians of the day, following the Reformers, abolished Easter, among other things. In June 1647, England Parliament, headed by the Puritans at Westminster, passed legislation abolishing Christmas and other holidays: “Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise not withstanding.” (Daniel Neal, The History of the Puritans (London, 1837; rpt. Minneapolis: Klock , p. 45).

The Puritans “proposed a stricter observance of Sundays, the Lord’s Day, along with banning the immoral celebration of Christmas — as well as Easter, Whitsun and saints’ days.” (Patino, Marta, The Puritan Ban on Christmas). The reason the puritans denied the celebration of any holy days was a biblical foundation to deny the “dressing up” of any other day than what God had specifically prescribed in Lord’s Day worship. “Holy days’ have no such prescription — there is no Scriptural command, approved example, or good and necessary inference, which warrants tying specific acts of redemption to ‘holy’ days of our own choosing.” (Chris Coldwell, The Religious Observance of Christmas and ‘Holy Days’ in American Presbyterianism)

“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil!” [Exodus 23:2]

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NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL FIRE – A FORETASTE OF THINGS TO COME

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL FIRE – A FORETASTE OF THINGS TO COME

Rod Dreher of the website “The American Conservative” wrote concerning the ‘Notre Dame’ tragedy – “There is no way to replace what Paris, what France, what Christendom, and indeed what humanity, has lost today. It is irreplaceable. For example, we literally cannot recreate the windows, which date from the time of Dante. We do not know how to do it. As a friend said to me, “You can rebuild the World Trade Center. You cannot rebuild Notre Dame de Paris.”

He further went on to say, “What we lost today is one of the great embodiments of Western civilization. It is impossible to overstate what this means. It will take some time to absorb. Notre Dame de Paris is at the heart of France’s identity. All distances in France are measured from kilometre zéro, in front of the cathedral. Though most (but not all!) of the French have turned away from their baptism, Notre Dame is the symbolic heart of the nation. And now, it’s gone, though firefighters may have saved its bones. It took 200 years to build, and now it was made a holocaust in one terrible afternoon.”

It may sound rather harsh to make judgmental comments when people are grieving and mourning over the loss of their darling monument. But truth must be told if we are to follow in the steps of our Lord. In those days when those who had gathered around our Lord Jesus told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Our Lord did not respond with a “How sad. My heart goes out to them” but rather His seemingly ‘unloving’ response was, “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH.”

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” [Gal 4:16]

Get this beloved, what happened to Notre Dame is only a foretaste of what will follow on ALL the great Cathedrals, Basilicas, Mega Church buildings and so called ‘Houses of God’! Every single one of them is “reserved for the fire!” [2Pet 3:7] God has already foretold what will become of the Roman Catholic Church – “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be UTTERLY BURNED WITH FIRE: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her!” [Rev 18:8]

But the fire of God is not reserved only for Roman Catholic Cathedrals and those who gather under them, but for every tall and high super structure which man glories in. That’s right! “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon EVERY . . . high tower, and upon every fenced wall, [Isaiah 2:12-17] The scripture speaks of a day “when the towers fall!” [Isaiah 30:25]

Men have always gloried in their buildings and super structures starting from the tower of Babel. While God on the other hand seems to be determined to bring down every building which man glories in. That’s right! “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to Him for to shew Him THE BUILDINGS of the temple.” And our Lord didn’t go “Wow! Amazing!” but rather said calmly, “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” [Matt 24:1,2]

And historians tell us that THAT is what exactly happened!

It is still true that “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it!” [Psalm 127:1]

And again, “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [2Cor 4:18]

The moral? This – If you are still glorying in the works of man and the achievements of fallen man then you haven’t yet learned where it’s at.

Well if we should not glory in the works of man then WHAT would you that we glory in?

The Lord answered that question through His prophet long ago –

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD! [Jer 9:23,24]

Do you know Him?

The question is not whether you know ABOUT Him, but whether you KNOW HIM or better still . . . does HE know YOU? [see Gal 4:9]

There will be a great multitudes on that Day of Judgment who are now claiming to ‘know the Lord’ either because they walked an aisle, raised a hand, signed a card or said a little salvation prayer’ or whatever who are strangers to the discriminating Sovereign God of the Scriptures.

“Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” [Matt 7:21-23]

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2Pet 1:10,11] Amen!

Your servant for His sake

Michael Jeshurun

A PRAYER REQUEST

A PRAYER REQUEST

I am going to be away for awhile because my wife and I are desperately trying to sell her late mother’s house and for some reason it isn’t getting sold. This house is situated in another town and every time a prospective buyer calls up we have to travel all the way there on my bike to show them the house. We’ve been doing this for almost three months and now it’s finally getting to us . . . so many coming by to check out the house and nobody closing the deal.

Please pray that God will send along a buyer who will like the house and buy it .. . . ASAP. Our finances depend on it. Thank you. You are all very dear to my heart.

With lots of Luv 
Your servant for His sake
Mike

 

ONLY GOD’S ELECT KNOW SOMETHING OF THE POWER OF SIN! DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING OF ITS POWER? 

ONLY GOD’S ELECT KNOW SOMETHING OF THE POWER OF SIN! DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING OF ITS POWER?

The power of Sin is a power unfathomable and indescribable. The great strength of sin consists in this– that it is a subtle and secret influence pervading and permeating every thread and fiber of the human mind, and acting in a way that must be felt to be known.

It is like a river, deep and rapid, such as the Danube (Europe’s second longest river), but flowing along so quietly and noiselessly that, looking down upon it, you could scarcely believe there was any strength in the stream. Try it; get into it. As long as you let yourself float with it you will not perceive its force; but turn and swim or row against it; then you will soon find what strength there is in the stream that seemed to glide so quietly along.

So it is with the power of sin. As long as a man floats down the stream of sin, he is unconscious of the power that it is exercising over him. He gives way to it, and is therefore ignorant of its strength, though it is sweeping him along into an abyss of eternal woe. Let him oppose it. Or let a dam be made across the river that seemed to flow along so placidly. See how the stream begins to rise! See how it begins to rage and roar! And see how soon its violence will sweep over or carry away the barrier that was thrown across it!

So with the strength of sin. Serve sin– obey it– it seems to have no strength. Resist it– then you find its secret power, so that but for the strength of God, you would be utterly carried away by it.

“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins!” [Matt 1:21]

i.e. from the penalty of sin in Redemption, from the power of sin through Sanctification and finally from the very presence of sin in Glorification!

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death (past), and doth deliver (present): in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us (future)!” [2Cor 1:9,10]

Praise the LORD!

(from the writings of J.C. Philpot)

IDENTIFYING GOD’S SHEEP

IDENTIFYING GOD’S SHEEP

Michael Jeshurun

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” [1John 4:6]

This God cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough, but only by REVELATION!

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED THEM unto babes”. [Matt 11:25]

Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [why?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]

Now THIS is the God I came to know shortly after my salvation. THIS is the God of the Scriptures! To the unbelieving heart and even the nominal religious Christian THIS God described above is nothing short of a monster!

A.W.Pink once wrote to a brother he was ministering to – “PREACH ELECTION, AND YOU WILL KNOW WHO THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS ARE!” I would say a hearty “Amen!” to that, for I am convinced that the doctrine of divine predestination is not some high doctrine only to be understood by ‘older divines’ and ‘Fathers’ in the lord, but a truth that can be grasped EVEN BY A BABE IN THE LORD.

I have personally labored much to present the truth of divine Predestination in many a pulpit in our land as the Lord gave me the opportunity. But I was to them as one who spoke in a strange tongue. And the reason for this is that very few in Christendom today are REGENERATED CHRISTIANS who ‘know the Lord’ or rather are ‘known of Him’. A great majority (99%) of those who warm the pews are ‘NATURAL MEN’ who worship A GOD OF THEIR OWN MAKING. Only a babe in Christ will desire the ‘sincere milk of the Word’. And believe me, what is preached in the existing ‘pulpits’ of our day is NOT EVEN ‘MILK’ let alone ‘MEAT’. It’s just plain hogwash!

THE CHRIST OF NOMINAL CHRISTENDOM IS NOT THE SOVEREIGN, ALL-POWERFUL, DISCRIMINATING GOD OF THE BIBLE!

In one of his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son. Nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. I, too, pose the same charge against the vast majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teachings of their Seminaries. The most dishonoring conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even professing Christians, THE GOD OF SCRIPTURE IS QUITE UNKNOWN.

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel,
“THOU THOUGHTEST THAT I WAS ALTOGETHER SUCH AN ONE AS THYSELF” (Psalm 50:21).

Such must now be His indictment against apostate Christendom. MEN IMAGINE THE MOST HIGH IS MOVED BY SENTIMENT, RATHER THAN BY PRINCIPLE. They suppose His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan can thwart His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, CONSTANTLY SUBJECT TO CHANGE. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s free will and reduce him to a machine. They lower the all-efficacious atonement, which redeems everyone for whom it was made, to a mere remedy, which sin-sick souls may use if they feel so disposed. They lessen the strength of the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to AN OFFER OF THE GOSPEL which sinners may ACCEPT or REJECT as they please.

All that to say, whether it is our salvation, our knowledge of God and His ways or our works for Him, in every thing ALL the glory is due to Him and Him alone. This is one reason why I am convinced that I am one of His elect. For His Spirit has in His grace and mercy revealed to me WHO HE IS!

AND THE DOCTRINE WHICH HE HAS TAUGHT ME GIVES GOD ALL THE GLORY AND PUTS MAN WHERE HE BELONGS ….IN THE DUST!

This is how I know that I am one of His elect! And this is how I recognize OTHERS who are elected with me. They have come to believe the GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES AS HE IS REVEALED IN THE SCRIPTURES!

While for some sheep it may take a while to fully grasp truth of the Sovereignty of God and the impotence of man in regards to salvation, if notwithstanding even after many years of being exposed to the truth of Sovereign Grace they still insist and harp on Creature Ability . . . it is plain that IT IS NOT GIVEN UNTO THEM! [Matt 13:11]

It is best to – LET THEM ALONE! [Matt 15:14]

IF THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD THEN YOU’RE GOOD TO GO

IF THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD THEN YOU’RE GOOD TO GO

From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David

It should be the subject of grateful admiration that the great God allows himself to be compared to anything which will set forth his great love and care for his own people. David had himself been a keeper of sheep, and understood both the needs of the sheep and the many cares of a shepherd. He compares himself to a creature weak, defenseless, and foolish, and he takes God to be his Provider, Preserver, Director, and indeed his everything.

No one has the right to consider himself the Lord’s sheep unless his nature has been renewed, for the scriptural description of the unconverted does not picture them as sheep but as wolves or goats. A sheep is an object of property, not a wild animal; its owner sets great store by it, and frequently it is bought with great price.

It is well to know, as certainly David did, that we belong to the Lord. There is not “if” or “but” or even “I hope so” in this sentence. We must cultivate the spirit of assured dependance on our Heavenly Father. The sweetest word of the whole is MY, He does not say “The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as His flock”. If He is a Shepherd to no one else, He is a Shepherd to ME. The words are in the present tense. Whatever the believer’s position, he is under the pastoral care of Jehovah now.

I SHALL NOT WANT

These positive words are a sort of inference from the first statement. When the lord is my Shepherd he is able to supply my needs, and he is certainly willing to do so, for his heart is full of love. I shall not lack TEMPORAL THINGS: does he not feed the ravens, and cause the lilies to grow? How, then, can he leave his children to starve?

I shall not lack SPIRITUAL THINGS; I know that his grace will be sufficient for me. I may not possess all that I wish for, but I shall not lack. Others may, far wealthier and wiser than I, but I shall not.

“The young lions DO lack, and suffer hunger: but they that see the Lord SHALL NOT WANT any good thing.” It is not only “I do not want,” but “I shall not want.” Come what may, if famine should devastate the land, or calamity destroy the city, “I shall not want”. Old age with its feebleness will not bring me any lack, and even death with its gloom will not find me destitute.

I have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my Shepherd. The wicked will always want, but the righteous never; a sinner’s heart is far from satisfaction, but a gracious spirit dwells in the palace of content.

THE NEED FOR SUPERNATURAL REVELATION TO KNOW GOD

THE NEED FOR SUPERNATURAL REVELATION TO KNOW GOD

A.W. Pink

God can only be known by means of a supernatural revelation of Himself. Apart from the Scriptures, even a theoretical acquaintance with Him is impossible. It still holds true that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Cor. 1:21). Where the Scriptures are ignored, God is “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). But something more than the Scriptures is required before the soul can know God, know him in a real, personal, vital way.

This seems to be recognized by few today. The prevailing practice assumes that a knowledge of God can be obtained through studying the Word, in the same way as a knowledge of chemistry may be secured by mastering its textbooks. An intellectual knowledge of God maybe; not so a spiritual one. A supernatural God can only be known supernaturally (i.e. known in a manner above that which mere nature can acquire), by a supernatural revelation of Himself to the heart. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). The one who has been favoured with this supernatural experience has learned that only “in Thy light shall we see light” (Psa. 36:9).

God can only be known through a supernatural facultyChrist made this clear when He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The unregenerate have no spiritual knowledge of God. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Water, of itself, never rises above its own level. So the natural man is incapable of perceiving that which transcends mere nature. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God” (John 17:3). Eternal life must be imparted before the “true God” can be known. Plainly is this affirmed in 1 John 5:20, “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.” Yes, an “understanding,” a spiritual understanding, by new creation, must be given before God can be known in a spiritual way.

If God has revealed Himself to you dear reader, He has given you a sight of yourself, for in His light we “see light.” A most humbling, painful, and never-to-be-forgotten experience this is. When God was revealed to Abraham, he said, “I am but dust and ashes” (Gen. 18:27). When He was revealed to Isaiah, the prophet said, “Woe is me for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5). When God revealed Him-self to Job, he said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6)—note, not merely I abhor my wicked ways, but my vile self. Is this your experience, my reader? Have you discovered your depravity and lost condition? Have you found there is not a single good thing in you? Have you seen yourself to be fit for and deserving only of hell? Have you, truly? Then that is good evidence, yea, it is proof positive that the Lord God has “found” you.

A DESIRE TO BE WITH CHRIST – WHICH IS FAR BETTER [Phil 1:23]

A DESIRE TO BE WITH CHRIST – WHICH IS FAR BETTER [Phil 1:23]

C.H. Spurgeon

We know that death is not the end of our being. By a confident faith we are persuaded that better things await us in another state. We are speeding onwards through our brief life like an arrow shot from a bow, and we feel that we shall not drop down at the end of our flight into the dreariness of annihilation, but we shall find a heavenly target far across the flood of death.

The force which impels us onwards is too mighty to be restrained by death. We have that within us which is not to be accounted for, if there be not a world to come, and especially, as believers, we have hopes, and desires, and aspirations, which cannot be fulfilled, and which must have been given us purposely to make us miserable, and to tantalize us, if there be not a state in which every one of these shall be satisfied and filled to the brim with Joy.

We know, too, that the world into which we shall soon be ushered is one which shall never pass away. We have learned full well by experience that all things here are but for a season. They are things which shall be shaken, and, therefore, will not remain in the day when God shall shake both heaven and earth. But equally certain are we that the inheritance which awaits us in the world to come is eternal and unfailing, that the cycles of ages shall never move it; that the onflowing of eternity itself shall not diminish its duration.

We know that the world to which we go is not to be measured by leagues, nor is the life thereof to be calculated by centuries. Well does it become every one of us, then, professing the Christian name, to be questioning ourselves as to the view which we take of the world to come. lt may be there are some of you now present who call yourselves believers, who look into a future state with shuddering and awe. Possibly there may be but few here who have attained to the position of the apostle, when he could say, that he had a desire to depart and to be with Christ. I take it that our view of our own death is one of the readiest tokens by which we may judge of our own spiritual condition.

When men fear death it is not certain that they are wicked, but it is quite certain that if they have faith it is in a very weak and sickly condition. When men desire death we may not rest assured that they are therefore righteous, for they may desire it for wrong reasons; but if for right reasons they are panting to enter into another state, we may gather from this, not only that their minds are right with God, but that their faith is sanctified and that their love is fervent.

IT IS THY GENTLENESS THAT HATH MADE ME GREAT

IT IS THY GENTLENESS THAT HATH MADE ME GREAT

C.H. Spurgeon

“Thy gentleness hath made me great!” [Psalm 18:35]

The words are capable of being translated, “Thy goodness hath made me great.” David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. “Thy providence,” is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, “Thy help,” which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord.

Or again, “Thy humility hath made me great.” “Thy condescension” may, perhaps, serve as a comprehensive reading, combining the ideas mentioned, including that of humility. It is God’s making himself little which is the cause of our being made great. We are so little, that if God should manifest His greatness without condescension, we should be trampled under His feet; but God, who must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do, turns His eye yet lower, and looks to the lowly and contrite, and makes them great.

There are yet other readings, as for instance, the Septuagint, which reads, “Thy discipline”-Thy fatherly correction-“hath made me great;” while the Chaldee paraphrase reads, “Thy word hath increased me.” Still the idea is the same. David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts this evening while we cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet, and cry, Thy gentleness hath made me great.”

How marvellous has been our experience of God’s gentleness! How gentle have been His corrections! How gentle His forbearance! How gentle His teachings! How gentle His drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep to-night.

PRAY THAT GOD WOULD OPEN THINE EYES TO BEHOLD THE WONDERS IN HIS WORD

PRAY THAT GOD WOULD OPEN THINE EYES TO BEHOLD THE WONDERS IN HIS WORD

C.H. Spurgeon

“Open THOU mine eyes, that l may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” [Psalm 119:18]

Some men can perceive no wonders in the gospel, but David felt sure that there were glorious things in the law: he had not half the Bible, but he prized it more than some men prize the whole. He felt that God had laid up great bounties in his word, and he begs for power to perceive, appreciate, and enjoy the same. We need not so much that God should give us more benefits, as the ability to see what he has given.

The prayer implies a conscious darkness, a dimness of spiritual vision, a powerlessness to remove that defect, and a full assurance that God can remove it. It shows also that the writer knew that there were vast treasures in the word which he had not yet fully seen, marvels which he had not yet beheld, mysteries which he had scarcely believed. The Scriptures teem with marvels; the Bible is wonder land; it not only relates miracles, but it is itself a world of wonders. Yet what are these to closed eyes? And what man can open his own eyes, since he is born blind? God himself must reveal revelation to each heart. Scripture needs opening, but not one half so much as our eyes do: the veil is not on the book, but on our hearts. What perfect precepts, what precious promises, what priceless privileges are neglected by us because we wander among them like blind men among the beauties of nature, and they are to us as a landscape shrouded in darkness!

The Psalmist had a measure of spiritual perception, or he would never have known that there were wondrous things to be seen, nor would he have prayed, “open thou mine eyes”; but what he had seen made him long for a clearer and wider sight. This longing proved the genuineness of what he possessed, for it is a test mark of the true knowledge of God that it causes its possessor to thirst for deeper knowledge.

David’s prayer in this verse is a good sequel to Psalms 119:10, which corresponds to it in position in its octave: there he said, “O let me not wander,” and who so apt to wander as a blind man? and there, too, he declared, “with my whole heart have I sought thee,” and hence the desire to see the object of his search. Very singular are the interlacings of the boughs of the huge tree of this Psalm 119, which has many wonders even within itself if we have opened eyes to mark them.