I CAN’T STAND ‘PASTORS’ WHO ARE MEN-PLEASERS

I CAN’T STAND ‘PASTORS’ WHO ARE MEN-PLEASERS

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” [Galatians 1:10]

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YOU CANNOT PUT CHRIST BACK INTO CHRISTMAS 

YOU CANNOT PUT CHRIST BACK INTO CHRISTMAS

by David Figenschou

More people attend church at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. As rampant materialism and greed parade themselves in the XMAS shopping spree, the plea is heard, “Let’s put CHRIST back into Christmas.”

Perhaps many churchgoers sympathize and concur with the sentiments of this plea. They might sincerely believe that the “reason for the season” has been hijacked by the world. How do you feel about it? Are you bravely resisting the world’s experience of Christmas, trying to put the Lord Jesus Christ back where you believe He should rightly be during the “festive season”? What is your understanding which motivates you to do so? A study of the Bible has caused some to come to realize that the world has not hijacked Christmas from the “church”, but that Christians have accepted into their midst something that is alien to the faith, something that is of the world. This tract will endeavour to show that you CANNOT put Christ BACK into Christmas because He was never there in the first place.

The Testimony of History

The pages of history show that the “celebration” of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in the manner of an annual Christmas festival was unheard of until the mixing of the apostles’ teaching with that of pagan traditions. This mixing or rather, perverting, of the pure worship of God took place over a period of time. The changes took place as tares planted amongst the early Christian churches began to bear fruit. Vigilant shepherds (pastors) dealt with and exposed the corrupt practices of the false disciples. But gradually the corrupt influences began to have effect, “the mystery of iniquity” began to spread its roots and its branches grew in all directions. When Constantine gained the “imperial purple”, “professed” conversion to Christianity and assumed the right to govern and defend the churches, then the flood gates were thrown open to allow pagan idolatrous practices to pour into the churches.

Soon after, Christianity gained special preferential status over the pagan religions with state patronage, and the pagans were harassed and seduced into “professing” conversion. And thus the formerly relatively pure Christian congregations now became swollen with religious pagans who were seeking to get on the right side of the Emperor and state authorities. It is at this time (about 336 A.D.), that the first recorded “Christian Christmases” were kept. In fact the festivities were not motivated by ardor and zeal to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, but were the result of popular pagan sentiments intruding themselves under the veneer of devotion to Him.

“Christmas Day”, December the 25th, could not possibly have been the birth date of the Lord Jesus Christ for a number of reasons deduced from a consideration of the Biblical data. For example, consider the climate and weather conditions in Palestine in December. The reason for Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem was to obey Caesar’s taxation decree. It is unlikely that the authorities would force the travelling required by the decree during the sharp cold months of the Palestinian winter. The Jews were considered a troublesome race and the Roman overlords wisely avoided unnecessary antagonism. The journey was a long one by the standards of those days; from the home town of Nazareth to Bethlehem just past Jerusalem. From what the Gospels record of Joseph, we know that he was a just man and a compassionate and considerate husband and nothing but absolute necessity would cause him to take his wife in a very advanced state of pregnancy on such a long journey.

The severity of the Palestinian winter is indicated by the fact that Herod was forced to postpone a military campaign because of the onset of winter, this indicates that winter was no time for prospective mothers to be travelling in an advanced state of pregnancy. Remember also our Lord’s words concerning the future destruction of Jerusalem, “Pray that your flight be not in winter” – why? Because winter was severe. Compassion would have dictated that in these circumstances a journey in the winter months be not undertaken. Shepherds would not likely spend winter nights out in the fields with their flocks as in fact they did, as Luke 2 v.7 records. Hence it would not have been winter when the Lord Jesus Christ was born.

The Origin of Christmas Pagan

Well then, how was the date December the 25th fixed upon? Encyclopedias and histories reveal that this day was in fact the birthday of “Sol Invictus”, the “unconquered sun”, and special worship festivities were held in Rome and with variations throughout the pagan world. The Emperor-pleasing devotees in the churches had by this time risen to high ranking positions and pandered to popular demand and incorporated sun worship into the “church calendar”. In Rome, where this new cult first began, the term “Christmas” was coined from “Christ” and “mass” because of the special masses held on that day, supposedly in honour of the Lord Christ.

In the great revival which emancipated whole nations from the idolatrous yoke of the papacy in the 16th century and the “puritan era” in Britain and America, this pagan festival was recognized for what it was. The puritans in their zeal to offer pure worship before God outlawed the keeping of Christmas. In the generations following, infiltration by Jesuit plants and sinful lapsing into lukewarmness and formalism sapped the vitality of the churches and indifference to the divine demand for purity in His worship grew apace. Until today, the keeping of Christmas has become an almost universal event, and has again become an “essential” part of the “Christian calendar”.

The Testimony of The Word

As the Word of God is the statute book of the Christian Church and records the will of the Head of the Church for His people, let us see if anything resembling Christmas can be found in the sacred volume. Alas! You can search as much as you want, but you won’t find a trace of a suggestion that the apostles or the faithful early disciples kept such a day as Christmas. Do we think that we can be more zealous for divine honor in worship than the newly formed apostolic community? They were in the full bloom of revival, and their love for the Saviour would not have allowed them to miss the opportunity to celebrate their Redeemer’s incarnation and advent in such a festival as Christmas IF it was allowed or desired by Him. Scripture records that the angels of God worshiped Him when He came into the world, this was not OPTIONAL on their part, nor was it COERCED OR FORCED from them, it was in GLAD and JOYOUS OBEDIENCE. Such an event as this would surely have been annually celebrated on a particular day in a special way if it had been allowed. Surely the early disciples (and especially the apostles) would not have missed such an opportunity to demonstrate their devotion and affection to their Lord? No, the silence of the Scriptures is deafening.

The Bible DOES reveal however that the infant Church OFTEN reflected upon the advent of the Lord from heaven. Throughout the New Testament there is wondrous mention of His incarnation and coming into the world. This was a regular and essential part of the Gospel message, not something that was made a fuss about once a year and then forgotten. Modern churchgoers seem to be content to pay lip service to His first advent and their participation in an event supposedly in remembrance of that advent appeals to their sense of “Christian propriety”. The Saviour Lord Jesus Christ was not negligent to instruct His followers in keeping those things that were pleasing to Him. There was one SPECIAL day on the calendar of the infant Church; that day was the Lord’s Day; the first day of the New Creation; the first day of every week. On this day they met to worship according to His command “do this in remembrance of me”, and received the apostolic instruction and prayed together.

Will Worship Detested By God

What are the consequences of devising means of worshiping God about which God has not given us instruction? Some say, “Surely God looks on the heart, and if a person has sincere intentions God will overlook their failings.” God does not require or desire worship based on imaginations or images. In the Old Testament, God instructs us how He regards those who dare to innovate in His worship. He did not tolerate it. When “strange fire” was offered before the LORD it was unacceptable and provoked Him to wrath.

The Lord Jesus in the New Testament proclaims the acceptable way of worship which the Father seeks, and it is not optional either; they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The apostle Paul writes of those who indulge in what he calls “will worship”, these people sought to worship God (or so they said) by doing things which God neither commands nor delights in.

What You Must Do

Now that you know about the origin of Christmas, what the Word of God says about it, and how God condemns will worship, you stand responsible to do something about your involvement in so-called “Christmas celebrations”.

Opposition, Evasions, and Excuses

No doubt, if you take the right stand, refusing to participate in the paganizing of the worship of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, you will face the opposition of those who don’t care to receive the testimony of His Word, and who think that they can lightly devise or participate in a type of worship which is condemned in His Word. Do not be deceived, now that you know the truth, God will not overlook your disobedience, your blatant disregard for His commandments. The Lord Christ pronounces dreadful sentence against idolaters, see Revelation 22 v.15; they will be shut out forever from the presence of the Lord.

There are some who might even acknowledge the pagan origins, that the Word of God bears no record of the annual “celebration” of the advent and incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet they say that Christians should take over non-Christian activities and influence them for good, for the glory of God, etc. And thus they justify their continued participation in this abomination. “Take the opportunity,” they say, “to proclaim the Gospel; all these people coming to church. What an opportunity!” So they have “Christmas services” where the gospel is preached, but at the same time they reinforce the “knowledgeable” unbeliever’s deep-seated suspicions about the insincerity of the church, knowing that it is pandering to the popular but un-Biblical demand. Doesn’t this remind you of something or someone? This is exactly how this alien celebration rooted itself in the churches in the first place, and this is exactly how it will continue to be propagated.

Let us cease pandering to the popular but pagan demand and let us once and for all tell the world that it can keep its Christmas, we Christians will have nothing to do with it. Let us also take care to warn them at the same time of God’s anger against those who take His name in vain.

Christian, hear the word of the Lord! “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4 v.23).

Will you worship Him according to His word and will, or will you carry on according to your own ideas and imaginations?

THE BLESSEDNESS OF BEING PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE

THE BLESSEDNESS OF BEING PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE

A.W. Pink

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” [Matthew 5:10-12]

The Christian life is full of strange paradoxes that are quite insoluble to human reason, but that are easily understood by the spiritual mind. God’s saints rejoice with joy unspeakable, yet they also mourn with a lamentation to which the worldling is an utter stranger. The believer in Christ has been brought into contact with a source of vital satisfaction that is capable of meeting every longing, yet he pants with a yearning like that of a thirsty heart (Ps. 42:1). He sings and makes melody in his heart to the Lord, yet he groans deeply and daily. His experience is often painful and perplexing, yet he would not part with it for all the gold in the world. These puzzling paradoxes are among the evidences he possesses that he is indeed blessed of God. Such are the thoughts evoked by our present text. Who, by mere reasoning, would ever conclude that the reviled, the persecuted, the defamed, are blessed?

It is a strong proof of human depravity that men’s curses and Christ’s blessings should meet on the same persons. Who would have thought that a man could be persecuted and reviled, and have all manner of evil said of him, for righteousness’ sake? And do wicked men really hate justice and love those who defraud and wrong their neighbours? No; they do not dislike righteousness as it respects themselves: it is only that species of it which respects God and religion that excites their hatred. If Christians were content with doing justly and loving mercy, and would cease walking humbly with God [Micah 6:8], they might go through the world, not only in peace, but with applause; but he that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Such a life reproves the ungodliness of men and provokes their resentment (Andrew Fuller).

Being “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” means being opposed because of right living. Those who perform their Christian duty condemn those who live to please self, and therefore evoke their hatred. This persecution assumes various forms, from annoying and taunting to oppressing and tormenting. The Lord here prepares us to expect that loyalty to Him and His Gospel will result in our own peace being disturbed, introducing us to the prospect of strife and warfare. Proof of this is found when He says, “For so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” It is service for God that calls forth the fiercest opposition. Necessarily so, for we are living in a world that is hostile to Christ, as His cross has once and for all demonstrated.

Persecution has ever been the lot of God’s people. Cain slew Abel. “And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Joseph was persecuted by his brethren, and down in Egypt he was cast into prison for righteousness’ sake (Gen. 37, 39). Moses was reviled again and again (see Ex. 5:21; 14:11; 16:2; 17:2; etc.). Samuel was rejected (1 Sam. 8:5). Elijah was despised (1 Kings 18:17) and persecuted (1 Kings 19:2). Micaiah was hated (I Kings 22:8). Nehemiah was oppressed and defamed (Neh. 4). The Savior Himself, the faithful Witness of God, was put to death by the people to whom He ministered. Stephen was stoned, Peter and John cast into prison, James beheaded, while the entire course of the Apostle Paul’s Christian life and ministry was one long series of bitter and relentless persecutions.

It is true that the persecution of the saints today is in a much milder form than it assumed in other ages. Nevertheless, it is just as real. Through the goodness of God we have long been protected from legal persecution, but the enmity of Satan finds other ways and means of expressing itself. Let persecuted Christians remember this comforting truth: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29). The words of Christ in John 15:19, 20, have never been repealed:

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. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.

The Lord Jesus here pronounced blessed or happy those who, through devotion to Him, would be called upon to suffer. They are blessed because such are given the unspeakable privilege of having fellowship in the sufferings of the Savior (Phil. 3:10). They are blessed because such “tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed” (Rom. 5:3-5). They are blessed because they shall be fully recompensed in the great Day to come. Here is rich comfort indeed.

Let not the soldier of the cross be dismayed because the fiery darts of the wicked one are hurled against him. Rather let him gird on more firmly the Divinely provided armor. Let not the child of God become discouraged because his efforts to please Christ make some of those who call themselves Christians speak evil of him. Let not the Christian imagine that fiery trials are an evidence of God’s disapproval.

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad.” Not only are the afflictions that faithfulness to Christ involves to be patiently endured, but they are to be received with joy and gladness. This we should do for three reasons.

(1) These afflictions come upon us for Christ’s sake; and since He suffered so much for our redemption, we ought to rejoice greatly when we are called upon to suffer a little for Him.

(2) These trials bring us into fellowship with a noble company of martyrs, for to meet with afflictions associates us with the holy prophets and apostles. In such company, reproach becomes praise and dishonor turns to glory.

(3) We who suffer persecution for Christ’s sake are promised a great reward in heaven. Verily, we may rejoice, however fierce the present conflict may be. Having deliberately chosen to suffer with Christ rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11:25), we shall also reign with Him, according to His own sure promise (Rom. 8:17). Remember Peter and John, who “departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).

So, too, Paul and Silas, in the Philippian dungeon and with backs bleeding, “sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). We are told that others “took joyfully the spoiling of [their] goods,” knowing in themselves that they had “in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34).

May Divine grace enable all maligned, misunderstood, and oppressed saints of God to draw from these precious words of Christ that comfort and strength that they need.

TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS AND MERCY

TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS AND MERCY

“Some of the elect are permitted to sin most grievously in their unconverted state, whilst others of them, even in their unregenerate days, are wondrously preserved. Again; some of the elect after their conversion have been divinely allowed to awfully fall into the most horrible impieties, whilst others of them are so preserved as never to sin willfully against their consciences from the first conviction to the very close of their lives.” (Condensed from S. E. Pierce on Hosea 14:1).

Even so, God preserves the marriages of a great number of His people whilst others He decrees that they be separated and glorify Him in the fires! [Isaiah 24:15] But in either case though the means be varied the determined end is ever the same – i.e. to conform His child to glorious image of His beloved Son!

The path ordained for every child of God whether it be in blessing or trial is as unique as the fingerprints on our hand or the iris in our eyes! It is a UNIQUE PATH “which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen” [Job 28:7]. Wherefore for the most part we seek in vain for someone to ‘understand us’ or sympathize with us! Our glorious Head looked for some to take pity, but there was NONE; and for comforters, but He found NONE”! [Psa 69:20]. And as a part of that glorious body it shall be no different with us!

“But HE knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”! [Job 23:10] is the heartfelt confession of every true child of God! For they be persuaded that it is the LORD who giveth and the same LORD who taketh away and also that ‘ALL THINGS truly work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose!’ [Rom 8:28]

Today my wife and I glorify God for twenty five years of married life. A marriage that may not have lasted twenty five months God held together for a good twenty five years and all praise and glory is due to HIM ALONE!

Truth be told – it takes more than ‘GRACE’ to live with a miserable sinner like ME . . . it takes what the apostle calls “MORE GRACE!” But thanks be to God, “HE GIVETH MORE GRACE” which He graciously did and why we’re still around together serving Him. (James 4:6)

What is true concerning my own salvation as an ex-Satanist, alcoholic and drug addict, is true concerning our marriage too –
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought us safe thus far
and Grace will lead us home!

Thank you Lord Jesus for your faithfulness!
Hallelujah!

Love
Michael Jeshurun 

The Calvinist and Christmas!

The Calvinist and Christmas!

Michael Jeshurun

So you are claiming to be the ‘elect’ of God for whom Christ died. You know enough theology to debate any Arminian or Amyraldian and prove him wrong. But could it be that you are just a spiritually dead theologian with a lots of doctrine in your head?

You have heard this for a long time now that Christmas is Pagan and an offence to the God you claim to love and obey, but you could care less. You don’t want to be that ‘oddball’ who shuns Christmas and preaches against it. You have no desire to go forth unto Him, outside the camp (of apostate christianity) bearing His reproach like all the Elect! [Heb. 13:12,13].

“It’s not a moral issue” you reason! And where does the Bible say ‘don’t celebrate Christmas’? Ha, spoken like a genuine purebred goat! Maybe you need to “examine yourself whether you are in the Faith” [II Cor. 13:5]. The true saint of God does not abstain himself only from those things which are morally wrong, but hates every false way[Psa. 119:104].

Many such dry, dead, graceless head-Calvinist are burning in Hell right now who professed to know God but denied Him in works! [Titus 1:16]

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing” is not just good advice but a command. Your very affiliation and participation in the pagan festival of Christmas reveals your true identity. You are just a goat with a head full of theology, but the ‘root of the matter is not in you’! [Job 19:28].

Why not go all the way and join the Roman Catholics in celebrating MASS every Sunday?! After all Roman Catholics who celebrate Christ-MASS are our brothers and sisters in Christ, aren’t they? Many ‘Evangelicals’ seem to think so, J.I. Packer and Bill Bright to name a few! To these broadminded evangelicals the Reformation was a joke and those who were burned at the stake (for denying ‘the Catholic wafer Jesus) were nerds anyway!

And isn’t the Christmas season a great time to win the lost? At least they are more open to the Gospel! Like John Macarthur Jr said, “I do see Christmas concerts attracting people to the church”(GC-2022). So the end justifies the means. Have a Christmas program, a Rock or Rap concert, do anything as long as you can lead folks to Christ and get them to pray and ask Jesus into their hearts. After all what better day for lost souls to make a decision and open their heart to invite Jesus in than his Birthday?!

Surely we can’t deny the kiddies a good time by being such a nonconformist radical. Yes Moses took all the little ones with him out of Egypt (Ex 10:9,10). But times are different now! There are times when we have to follow the multitude to do evil and allow our children to mingle with the present day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season“? (Hebrews 11:25).

But seriously here is the truth: “In the sight of God the circus and the theater are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.” Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the holy name of Christ; the former are not”. [A.W. Pink]

The question is not whether you will lose your salvation if you join in this pagan abomination done in your Lord’s name, but whether you are saved to start with! You are smart enough to know who it is that celebrates “Christmas”! The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, joining in the merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus!

Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, “You claiming to be His friend, will you unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification?” Does any truly born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, “the customs of the people are vain“; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2)

Without labouring the point, the true child of God has no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather exposes them [Eph 5:11], not that he might be saved, but because he is! It cannot be overstressed that ‘Christmas’ is a worldly festival, and everything connected to it  – (the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, the Mistletoe, the elves all of them) has a Satanic significance. And God’s Word makes it plain that if you are a friend of the world you are the enemy of God! [James 4:4]

If the Master walked into your house this month and saw your decorated Christmas tree [Jer 10:2-4], the Satanic Pentagram (Christmas Star), Santa Claus etc would he commend you with a “well done thou good and faithful servant’ or “depart from me I never knew you”?! Surely you know the answer to that! If as you claim, Christ has set you free, then it was not that you might be delivered to do all these abominations! [see Jer 7:10]

And please don’t justify your celebration of this paganism by quoting other blind Calvinists like John Macarthur or John Piper who are leading their blind congregations into the ditch! The hypocrite John Piper says –“It’s really worth the risk, even if the date of December 25 was chosen because of its proximity to some kind of pagan festival. Let’s just take it, sanctify it, and make the most of it, because Christ is worthy of being celebrated in his birth”. Oh may God deliver his sheep from such wolves in sheep’s clothing!

So quit justifying yourself my dear Calvinist friend, and seriously

Examine yourself, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves”! [2Cor 13:5]

ROME’S ADULTEROUS OFFSPRING – CHRISTMAS!

ROME’S ADULTEROUS OFFSPRING – CHRISTMAS!

“What do you think of the Roman Catholic ‘Church’?”, the Anglican clergyman was asked. “If it’s not the Church of Jesus Christ, then it has to be the devil’s mistress.”, was his reply. Poor man, Oxford had taught him Greek and Hebrew, and yet he was still not quite clear as to the satanic character of Roman Catholicism. Yes indeed, Papal Rome is Satan’s masterpiece, and much the same can be said of Rome’s adulterous offspring – CHRISTMAS – arguably the most ancient, powerful and universal seduction known to man.  Who can deny that the Christmas observance has something in it to appeal to EVERYONE? The world’s giant retailers depend on it for a significant part of their annual profits. In fact, its “religious” content notwithstanding, the enormous appeal – the very complex mystique, of this annual festivity can be reduced to two driving forces : PROFIT and PLEASURE.

An objective appraisal of Christmas would have to conclude that it is THE WORLD’S GREAT ANNUAL DRUNK. Not that all are intoxicated over Christmas, BUT MANY ARE; many that rarely get drunk during the rest of the year.  This alone speaks volumes about Christmas.  This writer has very clear memories of the drunken Christmas seasons he witnessed while growing up in South Africa. O how sad was the sight of men staggering in the streets or sitting on the curb, next to their own vomit, barely able to mutter a “Merry Christmas.”! The loud call of Christmas is undoubtedly, “let us eat, DRINK and be merry.”  And O! how eagerly does the infamous “mother” of this baptized paganism – Papal Rome, seize on this season as her greatest opportunity to bring many unwary souls under her bewitching influence.

Think of it, dear Christian reader, has not experience shown you that Christmas “intoxicates” all who participate in it? Those who don’t get drunk on whisky, are still temporarily carried away by the distracting flurry of activities associated with it.  There is the often frantic search for suitable gifts, the Christmas cards, the finding, decorating and setting up of the idolatrous Christmas tree (Jer.l0:4), the preparation for sumptuous feasts, and for most congregations in America, this seasons calls for tedious exercises in drama, in preparation for the annual Christmas play.  And “‘Tis the season to be jolly”, and also for the endless repetition of “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.” – very honest expressions, because the very heart and soul of Christmas is – not worship, but MIRTH – frequently great, debauched and even disastrous mirth.  O the strange mystique of Christmas!

How seductively it lures its devotees into overspending, massive overeating, powerful emotional upheavals that bring on deep depression, making Christmas the prime season of the year for suicide.  Surely it can’t be an overstatement to say that a fierce cosmic force like this must be anti-Christian and satanic, and cannot possibly be of God. The fact that some truly Christian people participate in this festivity in no way  mitigates against its really pernicious effect, but only underscores its tremendously powerful influence over human nature.

Former Russelite, William Schnell, described his deliverance from that totalitarian religious system as a passing from powerful religious deception “into the light of Christianity.”  And so can this writer testify to his deliverance – total and very happy deliverance, from the Christmas tradition.  Most gracious Father, Thou knowest what a poor slave I was to the carnal charms of that pagan festivity – a slavery that had its start in very early childhood.  Thou Knowest that though we tried so hard to make it Christian, yet we never failed to experience spiritual, emotional and even physical harm by participating in it.  Blessed by Thy most precious Name for delivering us from its powerful bonds, opening our eyes to see its deep paganism and Christ-dishonoring character.

Reader, have we digressed from our meditations on what Grace teaches us (Titus 2:l2)? Not at all!  Grace commands us to “Live soberly”, and we have found that Christmas activities are a powerful threat to that lovely sobriety.  How can we experience anything but spiritual distraction, defeat and loss when, without a word of Scriptural warrant, and against all Scriptural direction, we join with a depraved, God-despising world in its idolatrous mirth? A dear neighbor – a professing Christian woman, has a sign in her yards that reads “Keep Christ in Christmas.”  No, dear soul, He was never in that abomination, and you will never find Him there.  May the Lord pity her and any reader standing in need of these few remarks, sent only for the honor of our most precious Christ and the good of the reader.

Come, let us lift our voices high – high as our joys arise.

And join the songs above the sky where pleasure never dies.

Jesus, the God that fought and bled, AND CONQUERED WHEN HE FELL;

That rose, and at His chariot-wheels dragged all the powers of Hell.

The Lord! How glorious is His face! How kind His smiles appear!

And O! what melting words He says to every humble ear!

“These are the wounds for you I bore, the tokens of My pains.

When I came down to free your souls from misery and chains.”  – l.Watts

More, much, much more than enough is He for this ever- needy soul,

Matthew Pacifico

 

EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS ALSO A ‘PROTESTANT’!

EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS ALSO A ‘PROTESTANT’!

Michael Jeshurun

Every true Christian worth his salt is a ‘Protestant’! For the One he follows as a disciple is a Protestant! Read His “Woe unto scribes and Pharisees!” which were hurled at the religious establishment of His day! Read the record of His apostle whose spirit was “stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry!” [Acts 17:16] And he protested against it!

God is looking for men who will not just peach the truth but who will cry out against the Lie!

The charge of God to every child of His is to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them!” [Eph 5:11] Meaning : when someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas!” just don’t ‘grin and bear it’ but take a stand and say, “Sorry I do not observe this Pagan holiday!” And if God opens the door, go on to preach the true Christ using that opportunity!

“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” [Psalm 94:16] “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins!” [Isaiah 58:1]

The question today is still, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” [Isaiah 6:8] Don’t be a wimp and say, “Here am I . . .  send my sister!” But rather say with the prophet – “Here am I; send ME!”

Listen beloved, The Roman Catholic ‘Church’ whom the Bible decries as the ‘Great Whore’ (Rev 17:1) hasn’t cleaned up her act and repented of her fornications (she never will) but is even now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner, to catch the unwary and gullible and kiss them; and with an impudent face say unto them, “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.” [Prov 7:6-27]

And the ‘Christmas bed’ is one very beguiling and irresistible ‘bed’ few so called ‘Christians’ can resist! HOW do I know this? Because in this very city where I live the Baptists, the Methodists and the Pentecostals and almost every established ‘Christian’ denomination come together along with the Roman Catholics to have a “United Christmas Celebration”!  “Oh we’re trying to put Christ back into Christmas.” they whimper. Fools! Christ was NEVER A PART of this Pagan abomination to start with!

“But WHAT is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote it’s source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. It is without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on it’s lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). – A.W. Pink

“For what peace in the Church without Truth? All conformity to anything else is but the agreement of Herod and Pilate to destroy Christ and His Kingdom”. And again, “An agreement without truth is no peace, but a covenant with death, a league with hell, a conspiracy against the Kingdom of Christ and a stout rebellion against the God of Heaven”. [John Owen]

In the light of the above statements does it not grieve the spirit of the true child of God to see those who are supposed to be Protesting against Rome jump into bed with her and embrace her children as ‘brethren’?

“Oh, but I am not a “Protestant’” says one, “I am just a “Christian”!

Thou fool! Knowest thou not that a ‘Christian’ and a “Protestant” are spiritually synonymous!

A ‘Christian’ is not just someone who embraces that which Christ loves, but one who HATES EVERYTHING which He abhors!

“Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I HATE EVERY FALSE WAY”! [Psalm 119:104]

The Apostle’s admonition to you who call yourself a ‘Christian’ is as we have said above to – “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather REPROVE them”. [Eph 5:11] The word ‘reprove’ according to Strong’s means to ‘tell a fault’ confute and rebuke – in other words to PROTEST!

Was Jesus (the one you claim to follow) a ‘Protestant’? Go back and read about the time when your Lord made a scourge of small cords and drove out of the temple those who were making a merchandise of His Father’s house! This is one of the few instances which is recorded in ALL the four gospels. Must be PRETTY IMPORTANT! And the Apostle tells us WHY he did it – “It was written, The zeal of Thine house hath EATEN ME UP”! [John 2:17]

Trust me, if you have even a little bit of Christ’s Spirit, then this SAME ZEAL ‘will eat you up’!

How can you claim to be a Christian, if you are not  PROTESTING against that which parades in your Lord’s garb, while making MERCHANDISE OF THE SOULS OF MEN?! [Rev 18:13]

Something’s SERIOUSLY WRONG with the ‘Christian’ who can shake hands with a Roman Catholic and call him a ‘brother’!

I am not advocating that you hate the Roman Catholic, but you have got to HATE THE SYSTEM! For it is the spirit of ANTICHRIST! You must be willing to fight it ‘tooth and nail’ to your last dying breath! All of Christ’s true brethren fought this evil system and some of them sealed their testimony with their blood!

If you haven’t already done so, go get yourself a book called ‘The Book of Martyrs’ by John Foxe and read it and weep! And don’t just weep, take up the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and cut this system and the devil which rules it to the heart!

May God help us!!

 

A FULL-TIME ADVOCATE 

A FULL-TIME ADVOCATE

Henry Mahan

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous” [1 John 2:1].

The Scripture encourages the believer to trust and hope in the mercy of God at all times! It does not say, ‘If any man be holy, prayerful, always faithful, he has an Advocate,’ but it says, “If any man SIN, he has an advocate with the Father.” It does not say, ‘If any man sins, he forfeits his right to Christ’s advocacy.’ Grace that can be forfeited because of human failure is not grace at all.

MERCY THAT IS CONDITIONED ON THE MERIT OF THE CREATURE IS NOT MERCY AT ALL.

If my title to glory rests upon my works, either BEFORE OR AFTER conversion, it is a total failure. The Scripture declares that at all times, under all circumstances; Jesus Christ is our righteousness, our sanctification, our Advocate, our redemption.

So, when I sin, when I consider my past or present and come creeping into my closet with a guilty conscience and an aching heart, I can rejoice in the mercy of my Father, for I have an Advocate, “JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS!

THE CHRISTIAN ACCUMULATING CLUTTER

THE CHRISTIAN ACCUMULATING CLUTTER

In some of our homes, we’ve got a lot of stuff, and A LOT OF STUFF THAT WE DON’T NEED! I’ve been talking with a few friends about clutter and de-junking the house. How do we decide what to purge? After we’ve thrown out the garbage, how do we decide what to keep and what to give to Goodwill? How do we use the material blessings which the Lord has given us without beginning to “lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth”? [Matt 6:19]

There are loads of books out there on how do de-clutter, organize, and purge, but few of them offer a biblical perspective. The motives that we often hear for de-cluttering are to create a calm personal space, to make room for the new, to aid the flow of positive energy, etc. If you haven’t used it for a year, you’re supposed to throw it out, according to the organizational gurus. But THERE ARE BIBLICAL REASONS AND MOTIVES FOR GETTING RID OF STUFF YOU DON’T USE – AND EVEN SOME STUFF THAT YOU DO.

First, getting rid of excess stuff frees you to other things. Stuff requires that we keep track of it and care for it. Getting rid of extra stuff means that we have less material things to think about and care for, and more time and energy to serve. Instead of storing and cleaning an extensive collection of (china plates, baby clothes, old textbooks, etc.), we have that time to serve. Stuff is often a distraction from the things of God and the service of God. While we do have to live with some things (some clothing, for instance, or pots and pans) and spend time caring for them, stuff that is taking extra time and energy from the things of the Lord needs to go.

Second, getting rid of extra stuff makes your home a tool of service. A home that is cluttered (often a symptom of disorganization) is not a place which is restful to its occupants, available for hospitality, or a witness to a world that is watching to see how other-worldly people live on earth. A de-cluttered home is partly an expression and witness that we are willing and able to serve.

THIRD, GETTING RID OF STUFF CAN BLESS OTHERS. Things that you do not use, that you only use occasionally, or even things that you do use but could do without, could bless someone who actually needs them. Those items can go, too. I had been storing bins and bins of kid’s clothes in case I ever need them. Maybe I will need them again, but in the meantime, I know other children who could put them to good and immediate use. It’s good to ask if someone else would be more fruitful with an item in question, or if they need it: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2:14-16).

Things like your wedding dress or another personal, irreplaceable item can stay – pictures of your great-grandmother are probably not going to be a blessing to someone else, anyway. And there is a place for owning some things just because they are beautiful and bring us daily joy. But even then, we need to examine our motives. Why do we cling to a particular thing that is going to burn in the end anyway? Sometimes we keep something because it will bring our children or grandchildren joy (perhaps some financial gain) years from now. Sometimes we want to be able to see a certain item (like our grandfather’s cane, or our first pair of shoes) that brings back memories connected to landmark events in our past.

BUT OFTEN, I FIND MYSELF CLINGING TO STUFF WITH NO OTHER REASON THAN MATERIALISM! I love stuff, so it’s hard to throw it out. Scripture has some serious warning for me: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Throwing out stuff helps me to wean myself from this world and focus on spiritual realities. One line from Luther’s hymn has been particularly helpful to me as I seek to pare down my earthly possessions: “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also.”

This doesn’t mean that we have to live in stark, monastic settings. But it does mean that we need to view our possessions in light of eternity, using them for God’s glory and love for others. All the stuff I have is just stuff – a stewardship of temporal blessings. Is it weighing down my soul and fruitfulness? Am I using it for eternal good? “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-20). Amen!

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AND THE LORD APPOINTED SOME TEACHERS

AND THE LORD APPOINTED SOME TEACHERS

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and TEACHERS; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”! [Ephesians 4:11-13]

A.W. Pink in writing to his friend the young Rev. R. Harbach, writes –

“I was very glad to hear from you again and quite pleased with your letter as far as it went. May I offer a comment – not in the way of criticism, but of instruction – on your statement: “not that I would esteem the writings of men greater than the Scriptures themselves.” You need to be careful at that point lest you draw a wrong antithesis – the writings of some men might profit you more than your personal reading of the Scriptures!

The Holy Scriptures are indeed in a class all to themselves, and claim a reverence, veneration and submission which no other writings do or can. But “the writings of men” needs defining. The expositions of Scripture by God’s own servants also occupy an unique place – in the realm of human literature – and have a special claim upon our attention! It is God’s method to use human instrumentality, and He has called and equipped a few of His servants to be teachers (not merely “preachers”) – specially gifted by Him to “open” His Word, and they are to be highly esteemed for their work’s sake” [1Thes 5:12,13]

You are likely to get more real help and enlightenment from one hour’s careful perusal of say, Goodwin on Ephesians 1or Manton on Psalm 119 than if you spent ten (10) hours in reading and studying either chapter directly for yourself! And that statement is NOT disparaging to the Scriptures, but simply illustrates the method which God is pleased to employ in the instructing of the rank and file of His people.

True you need to read regularly the Scriptures themselves and thoroughly familiarize yourself with their contents – as you also need to test by Scripture (1Thes 5:21) so far as you are able (and at present that is very little) what each expositor says. Yet I feel strongly that it is also true that you need to spend much more time now and in the near future (D.V.) to study the writings of the true servants of God. Only then will 2Timothy 2:15 become yours.”

[Quoted from “Letters to a Young Pastor” – by A.W. Pink]

But “Oh” says someone, “does not the Scripture say, ‘the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things . . .” [1Jn 2:27]

Is there a discrepancy here? Between the verses which inform us that God has appointed teachers in His Church [Eph 4;11-13], and admonishes us to teach others [2Tim 2:2], and chides some saying, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat”?! [Heb 5:12]

NOT AT ALL!

John’s letter is aimed at the false teaching that would come to be known as the gnostic error. The context of the passage containing 1Jn 2:27 is the false teaching coming from those who were spreading this heresy.

In leading up to his comment about not needing anyone to teach us, John warned us to “see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.” (1 John 2:24) He was talking about God’s Word. He continued on saying that if we hold true to it then by the anointing we have received we won’t need anyone to teach us whether something we hear is true or false because we’ll be able to compare it with the source of Truth, the Bible.

So John wasn’t saying we didn’t need teachers, because that would conflict with the portions of Scripture which speak of the necessity of teachers, and would contradict what John himself was doing right then – teaching! He was saying that we don’t need teachers to tell us whether something is right or wrong because we can test all teaching against the Word of God. This is exactly what Paul said in Acts 17:11.

 ‘Teaching’ then is an integral part of the ministry of the Church! It is GOD who has appointed these teachers. For there is much in Scripture which is ‘hard to be understood’ (2Pet 3:16) and which unless opened to us by an anointed teacher who can give us the ‘sense of it’, we could wrest it to our own destruction!

“ . . . and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law . . . So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and GAVE THE SENSE, AND CAUSED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE READING”. [Nehemiah 8:7,8]

I have been a student of the Word of God and an ardent reader of Theology for a good twenty nine years now, and yet there are times when I run into portions of Scripture which baffle me; and I have to ask myself – “Understandest thou what thou readest”?!  [Acts 8:30]

And the only answer is – “How can I, except some man should guide me”?  [Acts 8:31]

Michael Jeshurun