ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

J.C. Philpot

“The entrance of Thy words giveth light” [Psalm 119:130]

We often get into such dark paths, that we feel as if there were no more grace in our souls, than we are as one altogether dead in trespasses and sins. And whether we look back at the past, or view the present, or turn our eyes to the future, one dark cloud seems to rest upon the whole; nor can we, with all our searching, find to our satisfaction that we have one spark of true religion, or one atom of grace, or one grain of vital godliness, or any trace that the Spirit of God has touched our consciences with his finger.

Now, when we are in this dark, benighted state, we want LIGHT; we want the blessed Son of righteousness to arise; we want the south wind to blow a heavenly gale, and drive the mists away; we want the clouds to part, and the light of God s countenance to shine into our souls, so as to show us where we are, and what we are, and make it clear, that base and vile as we are, yet that we are interested in the love of the Father, the blood of the Son, and the teachings of the Holy Ghost.

Are you never there in soul-feeling? Do you not sometimes look into your hearts, and weigh up your evidences, and examine yourselves, and say, “I must honestly confess” and you sink fathoms in a moment “that I cannot find in my soul one mark of grace; I am as worldly, as stupid, as ignorant, and as carnal, as though the finger of God bad never touched me.”

In these seasons, then, you want the ENTRANCE OF LIGHT. You cannot run to a friend, and say, “Be so kind as to give me a little flattery. Do just take the whitewash brush, and brush me over; get out the mortar and trowel, and daub me over with a little plaster. Pray, put a little putty into these cracked evidences; shore up my sinking religion, that it may not be altogether” a tottering wall, and a bowed fence.” No; you would rather ask a man of God to take his trowel, and pick out with the pointed end all the putty, instead of putting fresh into the crack.

You would rather stand naked before God, that he himself might, in his own time and way, clothe you with the garments of salvation, than be wrapped up in the veils and mantles of profession, or borrow a robe from your neighbour. Thus in these seasons you cannot go to man. You cannot angle for praise. If you resemble me, you cannot go to a child of God with a head hanging like a bulrush, and with demure looks throw out some disparaging, condemnatory sentence against yourself, for the express purpose of your Christian friend taking it up in order to underprop with it your religion. But you will act as Jeremiah says he did Jer 15:17, “I sat alone, because of thy hand;” you will do as we read La 3:28 he does who bears the yoke, -“he sitteth alone, and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.”

You will be crying unto the Lord in some secret corner, be tossing on your midnight couch, wrestling with the Saviour for a manifestation, and big scalding drops will be rolling down your cheeks, that the Lord would make himself known unto you, and sprinkle your conscience with his atoning blood. You will be sighing and mourning, away from every human eye and every human ear, that the Lord himself would lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and cause you experimentally to know the meaning of the words: The entrance of Thy words giveth light.” You can t be satisfied with the doctrine of Christ s blood, and the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness, and the doctrine of God s everlasting love, but you want the feeling application of it; the spiritual and supernatural entrance of it into your souls, so as to raise up that in your hearts which shall bring you out of prison to praise and bless his name.

And you want this entrance of light into your heart, that it may give you entrance into that which is within the veil, even a sweet and blessed entrance, by faith into the very heart and compassionate bosom of Jesus, so as to drink into his spirit, and to be melted into his likeness.

THIS IS THE RELIGION THAT I WANT; and as to any other, I would, in my right mind, tear every shred of it from me. As to any religion that does not stand in divine teachings, sweet applications, blessed manifestations, and heavenly testimonies, I would throw it aside from me as an unclean garment -I would bury all such rags and tatters in the first dunghill that I came to.

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THE SMARTPHONE ‘SELFIE’ AND THE CHRISTIAN

THE SMARTPHONE ‘SELFIE’ AND THE CHRISTIAN

preacher Gary Shepard

Today’s Smartphone technology gives the ability to take pictures wherever one has their phone. Not only can we take pictures of others, scenery and more, we can also take pictures of ourselves! This has given rise to a new term in social media, the “selfie.” These are often close up pictures one takes of themselves and posts on various social websites.

Men and women clearly post these selfies using the one they think is best, showing their best features and at the best angle. This is exactly what people seek to show to God and others, their best “selfie.” They want to project to God and men their best SELF-righteousness.

Christ spoke a parable in which He showed how natural this is to fallen man. “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9). The selfies posted are but open evidences of the vanity and pride of sinners concerning what they think they are and look like to others. But I’m afraid they only look that way to themselves.

So it is spiritually like the Pharisee in the parable whose prayer was, “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are… I fast and tithe..” His view of himself was in his own eyes and based on what he DID. But there was another man whose eyes God had opened so that the “selfie” he saw of himself was surely ugly in God’s sight and man’s. In light of that revelation of what he then says himself to be, he cries out to God for mercy. As the psalmist, “And enter not into judgment with Thy servant: for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.” (Psalm 143:2) This publican cries, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” This is the selfie he sees of himself before the infinitely holy God.

This picture was revealed to him by the Spirit of God. He was the one “justified”, declared righteous by God! When we see ourselves in God’s light, we hide our faces and pray to be seen in Christ alone. We desire not our own righteousness which is as filthy rags but to be made the righteousness of God in Christ. We look to His righteousness imputed to us. Only in the gospel wherein the righteousness of God is revealed can we see that “selfie” by faith which God can favor and we have comfort from. O God our merciful Savior, let my selfie be in the Lord Jesus Christ!

How Scriptural are Seminaries and ‘Bible Colleges’? 

How Scriptural are Seminaries and ‘Bible Colleges’?

There came to Him (Jesus) the chief priests and the scribes, and the elders. And say unto Him, By WHAT authority doest Thou these things? And WHO gave Thee this authority?” [Mark 11:27,28].

How history repeats itself! “From WHAT College have YOU graduated? And in WHICH Seminary were YOU trained”? are the modern forms of this query!

[A.W. Pink]

Recently I posted an article by a Brother who clearly exposed and repudiated the error of Transubstantiation or the ‘Real-Presence of Christ in the bread and wine, and the people who were contending for this error, were more interested in the ‘credentials’ of the said Brother than the truth he had presented!

The question to ask is not “WHO gave you the authority to preach” but “Is your preaching in accord with God’s word”? The AUTHORITY to preach is not something that is bestowed by MAN, or even a school of men (like a College or Seminary). And it is definitely not bestowed by an Institution which claims to be the Church of Christ but teaches and practices everything contrary to the revealed Word of God.

The Pharisees were the only ones in Scripture who questioned a persons’ ‘authority to preach’! ‘And when He was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority”? Strikingly the Lord does not answer their query but says, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” [Mat 21:23-27]

Even when the Apostle Paul started preaching, none of the older Apostles asked him who gave him the authority, but admitted, that “he who persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed”! [Gal 1:23]

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no warrant in Scripture for a formal Seminary education to qualify men to be preachers! The closest example in Scripture to a college or seminary education is the Pharisee’s education system. The result of their education system is pretty clear. They could not even recognize God when He came to them in person (Jesus). They really believed that they loved God, but in actuality they hated God (Jesus) because God did not fit the theology they had been taught in their schools. They refused to believe the truth. They went to Hell, because their education was a stumbling block. They were proud, arrogant, hypocritical, and looked for the approval and honor of men. God intentionally hid spiritual understanding from them. “At that time Jesus answered and said, 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.” (Matthew 11:25) The Pharisees education system was a failed education system and yet the Church’s Seminary education system is very similar to it.

THE MEN CHRIST CHOSE AND APPOINTED TO ‘FEED HIS SHEEP’ WERE FOR THE MOST PART ‘UNEDUCATED MEN’!

The way Jesus trained His disciples was totally different than a college or seminary education today. It was more of an apprenticeship, and could not be described as a formal education. AT THE END OF THEIR TRAINING WITH JESUS, THEY WERE STILL DESCRIBED AS UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT MEN. However, their preaching brought thousands to a saving faith in Jesus and impacted the world. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) God Himself gave us the example that education is not important.

Jesus did not even attend the “elementary” school for Jewish boys that taught them how to read. “And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? [John 7:15]

Paul was a highly educated man in the teachings of the Pharisees. He knew the terminology, the reasoning, the jargon of the religious elite. But he put that all aside as worthless when God called him to preach! [See I Corinthians 2:1-16]

Moses was educated in Pharaoh’s house with the best education in Egypt. However, that did not qualify him to lead the Children of Israel. God had to humble him for 40 years in the desert, leading sheep, before he was ready to be the leader that God wanted him to be. When God called Moses, he did not feel qualified to be a leader or to stand before Pharaoh. He asked God to send someone else instead.

And THAT is what God’s school of training does to those whom He calls and trains, – i.e. it shows them how insufficient they are for the task ahead! Almost every man whom God called to ‘go speak for Him’ in holy writ made excuses and tried to shake off the task, for they found themselves insufficient! [2Cor 3:5]

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”! [Matt 18:1-5]

College and seminary education and degrees do not help a pastor to become humble as a little child. A pastor must be converted in his thinking about what greatness really is. Unfortunately, a seminary degree and especially the title “Doctor” does not help a pastor become more humble. Neither can a man who is not humble himself help others to be humble so that they can enter the kingdom of heaven. (v.3)

GOD’S DESIGN OF THE CHURCH STRUCTURE IS ONE OF EQUALITY RATHER THAN HIERARCHY. BROTHERHOOD RATHER THAN MASTER AND SERVANT OR PROFESSOR AND STUDENT.

The word “Minister” means: “to run on errands; an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): deacon, minister, servant.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary) A degree of higher education is a great hindrance to this command for a pastor to view himself as a servant. Church structure is opposite of business or government structure. A pastor must not do things to receive honor of others – special dress, special seat, parking, fancy or high pulpit, or honorary title or degree. All of those are contrary to the attributes of a servant. [See Matt 20:25-28]

Jesus commands (It is not a suggestion) that a pastor is not to use a title of honor: “Reverend”, “Doctor”, or “Ph.D.” “M.Div.” “Th.D.”, “Senior Pastor”, etc. A person’s education must not be used in the church to elevate that individual above any other person. Everyone in the church are equals (v.8) Highly educated persons in the church are not be acknowledged as such in the church. [read A.W. Pinks article –“Doctor or brother”]

Think of it – Jesus SAT DOWN to teach His disciples. Matthew 5, the sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to the multitudes SITTING DOWN. Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth SAT DOWN to teach. Jesus taught SITTING in a boat. A pulpit is usually ELEVATED above the people and puts the pastor at the center of attention and importance center stage. That is the OPPOSITE of Jesus’ command to be servant of all.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, 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. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”. [Matt 11:25-27]

The Pharisees were highly educated in the Old Testament in the “seminary” of their day. But God hid spiritual understanding from them and revealed it to uneducated men. Note what Jesus said, that God knew that this was best to hide true spiritual understanding from the educated! Jesus did not have any formal education. If a pastor desires to follow Christ and do what Jesus would do, why does he desire to have a seminary education? Why does the church desire their pastor to have a seminary education?

God’s design for pastors is the opposite of one patterned after seminary training. God has chosen the uneducated, the foolish in the world’s eyes, the weak, the base things of the world, those that are despised. God has not chosen the educated to lead the church. Jesus followed this same principle in choosing the twelve disciples. Not one educated Pharisee was chosen. Later when Paul, a highly educated Pharisee became a Christian, he tells us how he renounced his education so that his ministry would be more effective for Christ.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”. [1Cor 3:18]

God warns us here that it is easy for a highly educated person to deceive himself. The tendency with a college or seminary education is that with a degree to one’s name, that person has a tendency to feel that he is wise.

THEREFORE IF A PASTOR HAS A SEMINARY DEGREE, HE NEEDS TO BECOME A FOOL BY RENOUNCING IT SO THAT HE CAN BECOME WISE. OTHERWISE HIS THOUGHTS, THOUGH APPEARING TO BE WISE, ARE VAIN IN TRUE SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

Here are some quotes from A.W. Pink on Seminaries –

The best place of training for the pastor is not a seminary but the school of adversity. Spiritual lessons can be learned only in the furnace of affliction. [Gleanings from Paul]

Commenting on Isaiah 40:29-31, he says –

But where had Elijah learned this all-important lesson? Not in any seminary or bible-training college, for it there were such in that day they were like some in our own degenerate time—in the hands of the Lord’s enemies. [Life of Elijah].

This was one of the trials which this writer (Pink) encountered over thirty years ago, when his pastor and Christian friends urged him to enter a theological seminary, though they knew that deadly error was taught there. It was not easy to take his stand against them, but he is deeply thankful he did so. [Gleanings from Elisha].

Passing through a seminary and putting on the ministerial garb does not transform the unregenerate into regenerate men. When our Lord announced, “The truth shall make you free,” it was the religious leaders of the Jews who declared they were never in bondage; and when He affirmed, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” they replied, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (John 8). [The Doctrine of man’s Impotence].

Commenting on John 7:15 –

“How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” How like the spirit

which is abroad today! How many there are in the educational and religious world who suppose it is impossible for man to expound the Scriptures gracefully and to the edification of his hearers unless, forsooth, he has first been trained in some college or seminary! Education is an altar which is now thronged by a multitude of idolatrous worshippers. That, no doubt, is one reason why God’s curse has fallen on almost all our seats of learning. [Exposition of John]

Commenting on John 7:17 –

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” How this word rebuked, again, these worldly-minded Jews; and how it reverses the judgment of many of our moderns! One does not have to enter a seminary or a Bible Institute and take a course in Christian Apologetics in order to obtain assurance that the Bible is inspired, or in order to learn how to interpret it. Spiritual intelligence comes not through the intellect, but via the heart: it is acquired not by force of reasoning, but by the exercise of faith.

An experiential acquaintance with Christ is the one thing needful. A heart knowledge of God’s truth is the vital thing, and it is that which no schooling or seminary training can confer. [Exposition of John]

Commenting on John 9:34 –

Alas, how tragically does history repeat itself. These men were too arrogant to receive anything from this poor beggar. They were graduates from honored seats of learning, therefore was it far too much beneath their dignity to be instructed by this unsophisticated disciple of Christ. And how many a preacher there is today, who in his fancied superiority, scorns the help which ofttimes a member of his congregation could give him. Glorying in their seminary education, they cannot allow that an ignorant layman has light on the Scriptures which they do not possess. Let a Spirit-taught layman seek to show the average preacher “the way of the Lord more perfectly,” and he must not be surprised if his pastor says — if not in so many words, plainly by his bearing and actions — “dost thou teach us?” How marvellously pertinent is this two-thousand-year-old Book to our own times! “And they cast him out” (John 9:34).

But to “open” the Scriptures helpfully to the saints requires something more than a few months’ training in a Bible institute, or a year or two in a seminary. None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience are qualified so to “open” the Word that Divine light is cast upon the spiritual problems of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture. [Acts 17:2,3].

[Some of the above is quoted from – ‘A Biblical Research Report by Myron Horst’]

Here’s an additional note from Elder Jack Dawsey an Old School Baptist in response to a query on this subject –

Question – “Elder Dawsey, would you make some comments on theological schools, their authenticity (or not) for Bible teaching, and whether or not an aspiring Bible student should enroll in them to prepare for the ministry?”

Thank you for asking my opinion on theological schools. But first, before I attempt an answer to your inquiry, allow me to “generalize” and then proceed by offering you some “specifics.”

As an aspiring ministerial student, it’s important to read everything you get your hands on and “prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” I Thess. 5:21 and that “which you have already, hold fast till He come.” Rev. 2:25.

Moreover, it’s important for you to keep in mind that acquiring a body of knowledge, whether or not institutional or self-taught is a laudable action that Old School Primitive Baptists ambitiously seek, and you should too. Education is an equalizer among men.

But when Bible colleges and other esteem theological institutions promote the notion that they are equipped to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they are the fountain of wisdom, and conflate the wisdom of the flesh to the Holy Spirit, the word foolish is not a sufficient word to describe their charter.

When schools of academia have the audacity to confer doctorates of divinity on students or colleagues, or claim empowerment to prepare men and women to advance the kingdom of God, they are gone beyond the pale.

Theological schools are devices of men, and are used to confer titles that are misleading. Their degrees are misleading because when brethren of religious stripes attend these schools for the service of Christ, they open themselves to an employment opportunity (hireling) our precious Lord declared to be evil –John 10:13. In addition, there is but One Reverend and One Doctor of Divinity Psalm 111:9, therefore when schools confer this moniker they mock the dear Redeemer.

We believe that a person, called to serve God, must first experience the grace of God, and part of the experience is the constant awareness that Christ has perfect knowledge in all things, that He has the power to confer upon His called servants that which is well pleasing in His sight, and is able to perform and accomplish the work He ordained to His servant. As an example to follow, I urge you to consider the apostle to the Jews and the apostle to the Gentiles, Gal. 1:16.

Now it’s true, on occasion, Christ calls men to serve Him of great natural learning from institutes of higher education. And true, He endows some with unusual gifts. But these do not represent the standard call to the ministry; rather, they are the exception. Besides, these gifts are (more often than not) particular professional fields.

If Christ calls a person to labor in the gospel field, and then subjects His servant to depend upon a theological school (to prepare and “get ready” for service in the kingdom) that would be contrary to: ”Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”- I Cor. 26-29.

So, given the hatchery-like egg settings of these institutions, where students are treated like a new-born chick and subjected to the psychological phenomenon known as Groupthink, it behooves the aspirant minister of God to turn away from these schools because the kingdom of God is not of this world. Therefore, Bible colleges have no part in teaching Divinity.

In addition, it’s been our observation that to learn Christ (falsely) i.e. in and through the wisdom of flesh is the snare of deception. Deception is such a powerful device that the snared-one will be required to unlearn his false Christ; yea, vomit the false Christ up before ever learning him aright. (And that’s a psychological and emotional lesson very painful to experience).

Finally, I will say this and this is not an opinion. Stumbling blocks for many professing saints are documented beginning with the School at Alexandria (the first, so-called, Christian academy established in the mid-2nd century) to the modern era of Bible colleges.

Graduates of these schools become (wittingly or unwittingly) “hired” hands.

As hirelings, they tend to rely upon their natural propensity to teach lessons that a heaven-taught child has not. They are apt to pursue preaching as a professional career, building a Resume’ that demands a lucrative salary -with perks- at their next post.

They are apt to introduce new “programs” of worship and new “songs” to the saints in the assembly, including “songs and messages” contrary to the apostles who, “determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – I Co. 2:2.

 

THE GREATEST PIECE OF THEOLOGICAL WRITING THAT EVER CAME FROM LUTHER’S PEN

THE GREATEST PIECE OF THEOLOGICAL WRITING THAT EVER CAME FROM LUTHER’S PEN

“There are few books which written over 400 years ago are still applicable today; Martin Luther’s masterpiece, The Bondage of the Will, is one of those books. Anyone desiring to know more about the root of dissent between Luther and the Catholic Church must read this book.

In his treatise Luther systematically demolishes Erasmus’ arguments in favor of free-will. Luther brilliantly illustrates why the will is in total and complete bondage and enslavement to sin, and why free-will is a completely meaningless term. Luther argues that the only thing the will is free to do is to sin and rebel against God.

Luther shows that salvation is totally dependent on the grace of God and His sovereign Will. To say that even a small part of the human will can prepare itself to receive God’s grace is an utterly ludricous sentiment. Erasmus believes that a human being by a very small effort can earn God’s grace. Luther totally destroys this view and shows that to espouse such a view makes one worse than the Pelagians, who held that it took numerous great works to earn God’s grace”.
[by Seth Aaron Lowry]

“This book is as applicable today as it was when Luther first wrote this book. When so many Protestant Churches hold to a soteriological view more akin to that of Erasmus, it is absolutely vital that the truth of the Reformation be brought back into the spotlight. Read this book to gain a greater understanding of the major area of disagreement among the Reformers and the Catholic Church of the time, and also to understand that our salvation is not predicated on any meritorious work that we accomplish, but simply on the grace of God.

The denial of free will was the position of the Reformation. The Reformers had always been settled on this crucial issue. This was the “manifesto” of the Reformation. On this issue the Gospel, and Reformation Christianity, stands or falls. The selling of indulgences and other ecclesiastical abuses were not the central issues. They were the occasion for the Reformation, not the cause. Luther at the end of his rebuttal, in his book ‘Bondage of the Will’, praises Erasmus thus:

“I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account—that you alone, in contrast with others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like trifles. . . . You, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot” (319).

Erasmus had understood the issues clearly and went straight for the jugular. If Erasmus had succeeded in this debate against Luther, Roman Catholicism would have triumphed, and the Reformation lost. What Erasmus failed to do 500 years ago, he now succeeds magnificently among the supposed posterity of the Reformation, who are even now returning to Rome.

If there is ever going to be a reclaiming of the Gospel, if there is ever going to be a second Reformation, this essential issue—the bondage of the will—must once again be proclaimed and successfully defended. No lesser victory will do”.

[Quoted from – ‘Martin Luther on Free-Will’ from The Highway]

AN INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF MAN’S TOTAL DEPRAVITY AND AN EXPERIENTIAL ONE

AN INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF MAN’S TOTAL DEPRAVITY AND AN EXPERIENTIAL ONE

J.C. Philpot

When the Church of God fell in Adam, she fell with a crash which broke every bone and bruised her flesh with wounds which are ulcerated from top to toe. Her understanding, her conscience, and her affections were all fearfully maimed. The first was blinded, the second stupified, and the third alienated.

Every mental faculty thus became perverted and distorted. As in a shipwrecked vessel the water runs in through every leak, so when Adam fell upon the lee-shore of sin and temptation, and made shipwreck of the image of God in which he was created, sin rushed into every faculty of body and soul and penetrated into the inmost recesses of his being.
Or to use another figure; as when a man is bitten by a poisonous serpent the venom courses through every artery and vein, and he dies a corrupted mass from head to foot, so did the poison-fang of sin penetrate into Adam’s inmost soul and body, and infect him with its venom from the sole to the crown. But the fearful havoc which sin has made is never seen nor felt till the soul is quickened into spiritual life”Now, as this is opened up to the conscience by the Spirit of God, we feel indeed to be of all men most sinful and miserable, and of all most guilty, polluted, and vile. But it is this, and nothing but this, which cuts to pieces our fleshly righteousness, wisdom, and strength, which slays our delusive hopes, and lays us low at the footstool of mercy, without one good thought, word, or action to propitiate an angry Judge. It is this which brings the soul to this point, that, if saved, it can only be saved by the free grace, sovereign mercy, and tender compassion of Almighty God. These are painful lessons to learn.

How trying is bodily illness! To be parched by fever, racked by internal pain, with nerves unstrung, temples throbbing, limbs tottering, appetite gone, are heavy afflictions. Wounds also festering, abscesses gathering, ulcers spreading, cancers eating—what a catalogue of ills this poor flesh is heir to!

Yet these are but types of the maladies and wounds which the fall has brought into the soul. But as it is one thing to read of disease in books and another to be sick one, one thing to walk through the wards of a hospital and another to lie there a dying patient; so it is one thing to know the fall by theory and another to feel it by experience.

This miserable state, brought upon us and into us by the fall, all the people of God must in some measure feel. It is of no use mincing the matter and saying that a person can be saved by the grace of God and the blood of Christ, without knowing anything of the depth of misery and wretchedness into which he is sunk as the fallen child of a fallen sire. We must go down into the depths of the fall to know what our hearts are and what they are capable of; we must have the keen knife of God to cut deep gashes in our conscience and lay bare the evil that lies so deeply imbedded in our carnal mind, before we can enter into and experience the beauty and blessedness of salvation by grace.

THREE KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

THREE KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

J.C. Philpot

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

There are three kinds of righteousness, or at least three kinds of righteousness which bear that name. There is inherent righteousness, of which we have none. There is imputed righteousness, which is all our justification. And there is imparted righteousness, when God the Spirit makes us new creatures, and raises up in the heart that “new man, which after God” (that is, “after the image of God”) “is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

When the Lord, therefore, said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven,” he did not mean only an external righteousness wrought out by his obedience to the law for them, but an internal righteousness wrought out by the Holy Spirit in them. Thus we read of the inward as well as the outward apparel of the Church, “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.”

Two kinds of righteousness belong to the Queen; her imputed righteousness is her outward robe, “the clothing of wrought gold;” but imparted righteousness is her inward adorning, which makes her “all-glorious within.” This inward glory is the new man in the heart, with all his gifts and graces, what Peter calls “the divine nature,” “Christ in the heart, the hope of glory.” [Hallelujah!]

P.S. “This must be so if the Church is conformed to her Head, for He was “without spot” externally, and “without blemish” internally.” – A.W. Pink

YOUR ‘DECISION’ IS NOT WHAT SAVES YOU

YOUR ‘DECISION’ IS NOT WHAT SAVES YOU

preacher Gary Shepard

Believers are not saved by their “decision.” No, they are saved because God decided upon them, chose them in Christ and blessed them with all spiritual blessings in Him before the world began. He redeemed us by His blood and calls us. Yet, as believers in Christ and servants of the living God in this world, we have many decisions in this life. These decisions, some big and some small (so we think), do not determine anything but they do reveal many things. You see, it is our decisions concerning the things of this life that prove to be the test of our faith. Decisions concerning family, work, recreation, worship, etc. Actually, every decision in life! In making these decisions there are a number of things we as believers should consider:

1. Will I be acting according to God’s plain commands and statements in His Word? The Spirit of God never leads us to act contrary to the written Word. “He that is of God hears God’s words” John8:47

2. Will my decision be for the glory of God above all things? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Co 10:31

3. Will what I choose to do really work for my spiritual and eternal good? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1Co 10:23“Set your affection on things above ”

4. Will the course of action I choose encourage or be a good example for the people of God? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Ro 14:19

5. Will my decision work for the good of Christ’s church in this world and the advancement of His gospel? Will it encourage the one He has sent to feed and watch over my soul?

Remember Joshua’s words to the people: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Jos 24:15 God give us grace to serve YOU!

SATURATING YOURSELF WITH THE SCRIPTURES

SATURATING YOURSELF WITH THE SCRIPTURES

Saturation with the Scriptures is the Secret to Satisfaction of our Souls

The Puritan writer Thomas Brooks offers an excellent description of Biblical meditation…

Remember that it is not hasty reading—but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee which gathers honey (cp Ps 19:10-note; Ps 119:103-note)—but her abiding for a time on the flower which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.”

Meditation is CHEWING. Meditation is aptly depicted by the cow’s process of mastication (chewing). God has so constructed bovines to bring up previously digested food for additional grinding to enable optimal assimilation of the “cud.” Meditation is pondering and reviewing various thoughts (especially the thoughts/words of God) by mulling them over in one’s mind and heart (our “control center” so to speak – see Pr 4:23-note).

Meditation is the processing of God’s food for our soul (real “soul food!) One might call it “divine thought digestion.” “Chewing” upon a divine thought, deliberately and diligently, a process which (enabled by the Spirit our “Sanctifier”) provides the vital link between theory and action, between God’s Word on paper and God’s Word in our life. What mastication is to the physical life of the cow, meditation is to the spiritual life of those created in the image of God.

C H Spurgeon asks a good question…

“Have you a spiritual taste, dear Hearer? It is one thing to hear the Word. It is another thing to taste it. Hearing the Word is often blessed, but tasting it is a more inward and spiritual thing—it is the enjoyment of the Truth in the innermost parts of our being! Oh, that we were all as fond of the Word as were the old mystics who chewed the cud of meditation till they were fattened upon the Word of the Lord and their souls grew strong in the Divine Love! I am sure of this—the more you know of God’s Word, the more you will love it!”—The True Sayings of God – #3144

Meditation is ANALYZING. Literally analyzing describes the art of taking an intentional, lengthy look at a given object as the jeweler does when he puts his eyepiece on to examine the character and qualities of a flawless diamond. Indeed, “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” (Ps 12:6-note) Meditation on the living and active (energetic) Word (Heb 4:12-note) is like gazing at a prism, which breaks a single beam of sunlight into many component colors. As we take time to steadily focus on the “diamond” of God’s Word, the Spirit illumines the Son’s light in His many and variegated “colors and hues.”

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Psalm 119:18).

Meditation is ACTION. Someone has described it: “Making words into thoughts and thoughts into actions.” It is mental planning ahead with definite action in mind for accomplishing a job. Andrew Murray describes it: “Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life… this is meditation.”

Now tie these three thoughts together: chewing, analyzing and action. Reflect on each of them now before reading any further. Give God time for divine polishing in His secret place in order to more effectually reproduce His glory and beauty in public.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou SHALT MEDITATE therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for THEN thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” [Joshua 1:8]

[Quoted from Precept Austin.org]

BECOMING THE MAN GOD CREATED YOU TO BE! WHAT IT MEANS TO ‘PLAY THE MAN’! 

BECOMING THE MAN GOD CREATED YOU TO BE!
WHAT IT MEANS TO ‘PLAY THE MAN’!

“Let us play the men for our people.” – [2 Samuel 10:12] 

February 23, AD 1551 Smyrna, Greece. 

Like a scene straight out of Gladiator, Polycarp was dragged into the Roman Colosseum. Discipled by the apostle John himself, the aged bishop faithfully and selflessly led the church at Smyrna through the persecution prophesied by his spiritual father. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer,” writes John in Revelation 2:10. “Be faithful, even to the point of death.” John had died a half century before, but his voice still echoed in Polycarp’s ears as the Colosseum crowd chanted, “Let loose the lion!” That’s when Polycarp heard a voice from heaven that was audible above the crowd: “Be strong, Polycarp. Play the man.”

Days before, Roman bounty hunters had tracked him down. Instead of fleeing, Polycarp fed them a meal. Perhaps that’s why they granted his last request—an hour of prayer. Two hours later, many of those who heard the way Polycarp prayed actually repented of their sin on the spot. They did not, however, relent of their mission. Like Jesus entering Jerusalem, Polycarp was led into the city of Smyrna on a donkey. The Roman proconsul implored Polycarp to recant. “Swear by the genius of Caesar!” Polycarp held his tongue, held his ground. The proconsul prodded, “Swear, and I will release thee; revile the Christ!” “Eighty and six years have I served Him,” said Polycarp. “And He has done me no wrong! How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

The die was cast. Polycarp was led to the center of the Colosseum where three times the proconsul announced, “Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.” The bloodthirsty crowd chanted for death by beast, but the proconsul opted for fire. As his executioners seized his wrists to nail him to the stake, Polycarp stopped them. “He who gives me strength to endure the fire will enable me to do so without the help of your nails.” As the pyre was lit on fire, Polycarp prayed one last prayer: “I bless you because you have thought me worthy of this day and this hour to be numbered among your martyrs in the cup of your Christ.” Soon the flames engulfed him, but strangely they did not consume him. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before him, Polycarp was fireproof. Instead of the stench of burning flesh, the scent of frankincense wafted through the Colosseum.

Using a spear, the executioner stabbed Polycarp through the flames. Polycarp bled out, but not before the twelfth martyr of Smyrna had lived out John’s exhortation: be faithful even to the point of death. Polycarp died fearlessly and faithfully. And the way he died forever changed the way those eyewitnesses lived. He did what the voice from heaven had commanded.

Polycarp played the man.

“To ‘Play the man’ is not only to be willing to live for Jesus, but to die for Him!” – Michael Jeshurun

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ! No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier!” [2Timothy 2:3,4]

[Quoted from Mark Batterson’s ‘Play the Man’ ]

Read a full excerpt – http://playtheman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Batterson_PlayTheManExcerpt.pdf 

THE DEBT OF GOD’S ELECT PAID IN FULL

THE DEBT OF GOD’S ELECT PAID IN FULL

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“In ancient times, when a man could not pay his debts, as we find in the case of the widow of one of the sons of the prophets in the time of Elisha, the creditor might take him, or if he were dead, his sons to be slaves. So that in those days if he could not pay in purse he must pay in person; if he could not discharge the debt, he must become the slave of the creditor. But from this he might be redeemed by the payment of the debt. So it is in the things of God. Redemption implies not merely deliverance from a state of captivity and servitude, but also from a state of debt.

WHAT debt? The debt we owe to God’s justice. Our being entangled in the Adam-fall has not set us free from the law of God; debt is no acquittance. A man cannot, even as regards the laws of his country, by breaking them free himself from them. So as regards the law of God, a man cannot say, “I will break through all laws and trample upon all commandments, and then the law can have no power over me.” This would be adding sin to sin, defying God to his face, hurling defiance up to the very gates of heaven. We are still then as sinners amenable to the law; for it has not relaxed any of its stringent demands; it still pronounces and still will execute its awful sentence—”Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal. 3:10.) And as the ancient creditor seized the debtor who could not pay his debt and carried him to prison; so the law will arrest every one found under it; and if the debt cannot be paid—and how can he pay it?—he will be shut up in hell until he pays the uttermost farthing.” – J.C. Philpot

“There are many articles, books, and radio programs on how to get out and stay out of debt. It is not fun going through life with bills piling up and bill collectors calling to ask where the money is. The bumper sticker that says “You owe so off to work you go” is very true in this case. When a person finally gets out of debt by managing their money properly or attaining a large sum of money somehow and applying that money to pay off their debt, the feeling of being debt-free is a very welcomed feeling.

There is a more important debt that needs to be paid off. Spiritually speaking, we are born into this world in debt to God. Romans chapter 5:12- 21 explains that the original sin and guilt of Adam was transferred to our account. Now we owe that debt with no way of paying it. On top of that, we add to the debt by personally breaking the holy law of Almighty God. The total bill keeps getting larger and larger daily. The debt we owe is to God’s law and justice and we have no way of paying. As a matter of fact, if we seek to pay it ourselves we only make it worse since God will not accept what we have to offer. Our best payment is said to be filthy rags, dung, vanity, self righteousness, etc. and that is an unacceptable payment.

There is only one acceptable form of payment to reach a debt free spiritual status. There must be a suitable sacrifice made whereby the debt can be paid off in order for the bill collector to be appeased and reconciled. The payment that is acceptable and actually pleasing to God is BLOOD, not mine, not yours but the precious blood of the God-man Mediator, the LORD Jesus Christ. He is the only suitable sacrifice who is qualified to pay the price for the sin debt.

The currency that is acceptable was said to be the blood of Christ. What is the significance of this blood? The word of God says that life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11) and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). The idea of blood refers to a sacrifice or death which was pictured throughout much of the Old Testament. This refers to one who is acceptable taking the place of one who is NOT acceptable. Substitution is the idea here. Christ died as a substitute for His people. Wrapped up in the idea of substitution, death, and sacrifice is MERIT.

This merit was also that of appeasement or satisfaction as Christ fulfilled the demands of the law by obeying the law perfectly and paying the penalty and debt that was owed by His people. The blood of Christ is the whole merit of the work of Christ. This is not only because of what He did but also because of who He was. He established a perfect righteousness that will be imputed (legal transfer) to the account of His people. As a result of that, sin will never be imputed to their account ever again: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” Romans 4:8.

The debt of sin is the curse of the law. Galatians 3:13 says: “Christ has redeemed us (believers) from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (substitution)…..” Christ actually voluntarily took on (by imputation) the debt of His bankrupt, ungodly, sinful people and paid in full the whole price, past, present, and future that was owed by them. The price is paid and the work is done. Do you see any of this as being valuable? If you are looking to Christ and His merit to pay your sin debt you have the greatest treasure on earth and will be debt free. If you are still so blind you think you can pay the price on your own, then you still owe the debt. Think on these things.” – Scott Price