WHO IS ‘THAT PROPHET’ LIKE UNTO MOSES?

WHO IS ‘THAT PROPHET’ LIKE UNTO MOSES?

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

Who is “that prophet” whom the Jews referred to when they questioned John the Baptist of his identity? For they asked, “What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou THAT PROPHET? And he answered, No.” [John 1:21]

So who was “THAT PROPHET” which the Jews had in mind?

Even Philip who shortly after the Lord called him to be a disciple finds Nathanael and says, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” [John 1:45]

We know that all the prophets testify of Christ, but when did Moses make mention of our Lord? Tucked into the midst of Deuteronomy, talking about the punishment of false prophets, Moses made a remarkable prophecy:

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, LIKE UNTO ME; unto him ye shall hearken!” [Deut 18:15] And again –

“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, LIKE UNTO THEE, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” [Deut 18:18,19]

One thing is clear from the above prophecy i.e. that “THAT PROPHET” whom God would raise from amongst the Jews would be one “LIKE UNTO MOSES”.

Are there any ‘similarities’ between Moses the deliverer and our Lord Jesus Christ? Let us see . . . .

1. First off, He’s definitely from “among the brothers” of Israel, so that’s a good start. The Prophet must be Jewish, and Jesus’ heritage was from the tribe of Judah.

2. Both were shepherds – The Lord Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd”, and Moses also tended sheep – figuratively and literally.

3. Both were sent to bring salvation after 400 years of apparent inactivity from God – the Israelites had been enslaved for 400 years in Egypt, and the 400 years before The Lord Jesus came had been notably silent years from God.

4. Both fasted for 40 days and nights – Moses while on Mount Sinai, and The Lord Jesus in the Judean desert, when being tempted by Satan.

5. Both spent time in Egypt as children (as Jesus had to be hidden there for a while as a baby to escape Herod)

6. Both were born at a time when evil kings pronounced death to all Jewish baby boys in the area – Pharaoh had commanded all Hebrew baby boys to be drowned at birth, and Herod had issued a command to kill all baby boys under the age of two. Both were miraculously rescued from that threat.

7. Both were called by God to lead and save.

8. Both did miracles to testify to their God-given authority

9. Both instituted a covenant of blood that brought salvation for many – Moses with the Passover lamb’s blood on the doorposts, The Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, brought in the new covenant in his blood on the beams of the cross

10. Both were given God’s public stamp of approval with an audible voice from heaven, heard by the crowd – Moses at Sinai, and The Lord Jesus at his baptism

11. Both gave up great riches to lead a humble life of service and poverty – Moses from the palace of the King of Egypt, The Lord Jesus from the heights of heaven. Both were noted for their great humility (Numbers 12:3, Hebrews 11:26-27, Philippians 2)

12. Both were initially rejected by the Jews when the foretold salvation didn’t seem as if it was going to happen. When Moses first challenged Pharaoh, things got a lot worse for the Israelites, leading to despair and anger. The Lord Jesus’s crucifixion looked like a hopeless defeat. Both salvation situations initially looked like the promises were not going to come true. But they did.

13. Both were criticized by their own families – Jesus’s brothers in John 7:5, and Moses’ sister and brother in Numbers 12:1.

14. Both were willing to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of those they were leading, and to pay for the sins of their people – Moses in Exodus 32, and The Lord Jesus’s own readiness to die on our behalf is evident in the Garden of Gethsemane

15. Both miraculously provided the people with bread to eat – manna was sent from heaven for the Israelites and The Lord Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes. Twice. And in one of those instances the people who witnessed the miracle exclaimed – “This is of a truth THAT PROPHET that should come into the world!” [John 6:14]

16. Both were accepted by Gentiles – Moses’ father in law, a Midianite, instantly believed (Exodus 18:10-11) The Egyptians too came to believe that the God of Israel was real and true. And the non-Jews readily accepted The Lord Jesus’s message of salvation.

17. Under Moses, all those who believed him, those who followed the instructions and put the sacrificial blood on their doors, were saved from death. Similarly, under The Lord Jesus, all those who appropriate His sacrificial blood, shed for His elect are saved from Eternal death!

18. Seven weeks (50 days) after the Exodus, the Israelites waited upon God to receive the Torah – now that they had been saved, how then should they live? God gave Moses His covenant and instructions on how to live as a community. Seven weeks (50 days) after the resurrection, the disciples waited as Jesus instructed them to receive the Holy Spirit, and the church was born – a new faith community, and a new way to live as believers.

19. Both of their faces shone with the glory of heaven, as was noted by people who saw them – Moses had to wear a veil over his face because it was beaming so much, and The Lord Jesus’s disciples saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.

20. Moses chose 12 spies to explore Canaan, and The Lord Jesus chose 12 disciples. Moses appointed 70 rulers over Israel, and The Lord Jesus sent 70 disciples out to share the gospel.

21. Moses led the people out from slavery to Pharaoh! The Lord Jesus has redeemed us from slavery to Sin, Satan and the World . . . into life with Him forevermore!

The above similarities are mentioned just to ‘whet your appetite’. There are so many more similarities if you will but pray and dig into God’s Word! But there are a few crucial differences too: Moses was not perfect, and did not cross into the promised land, but our Lord Jesus is perfect, and has gone before us into Heaven itself, to prepare a place for us, and sits at the right hand of the Father not only to intercede for us but from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool! [Heb 10:12,13]

Hallelujah! Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!

[copied and paraphrased from sources on the web]

THE THEOLOGY WHICH GIVES GOD ALL THE GLORY  – THAT’S THE RIGHT ONE!

THE THEOLOGY WHICH GIVES GOD ALL THE GLORY  – THAT’S THE RIGHT ONE!

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“Have you ever had a shopping cart with a broken wheel? You push it around and all it wants to do is run into the sides of the aisle. If you were to let the cart go on its own, it would immediately turn and smash into that case of pickles up ahead! You are like that shopping cart! The bad wheel is your heart. It’s always veering off, leading you away from what you were created to be. You were created for God’s love and glory, but instead, your heart pulls you away from Jesus and into something much worse than a case of pickles.

Being a rebel at heart means that you do not have the ability to choose God or even to respond to God on your own because you are spiritually dead; we all are.

REFORMED THEOLOGY teaches that, because we are more sinful than we could ever imagine, it can only be God who takes that broken shopping cart wheel (our sinful heart) and replaces it with one that has both the ability and the desire to seek him and to follow him. By faith in Christ, you are no longer set to smash into the aisles of sinful destruction. No, he promises to carry us in his grip of grace.”
[Brian Cosby]

“Whatsoever doctrine both depress and humble man and advance the glory of God, is true. It answers the design of the Gospel, which all centers in this: that man is to be laid low, and God to be exalted as the chief cause. It pulls man down from his own bottom, and transfers all the glory man would challenge into the hands of God: it lays man in the dust at God’s footstool. That doctrine which crosses the main design of the Gospel, and encourages pride in man, is not a spark from heaven. No flesh must glory in God’s presence (1 Corinthians 1:29).

The doctrine of justification by works is thrown down by the apostle with this very argument as a thunderbolt: ‘Where is boasting then? It is excluded…by the law of faith’ (Romans 3:27), that is by the doctrine of the Gospel. Boasting would be introduced by ascribing regeneration to nature, as much as it is excluded by denying justification by works. The doctrine of the Gospel would contradict itself to usher in boasting with one hand whilst it thrust it out with the other. Our Saviour gave this rule long ago, that the glorifying of God is the evidence of truth in persons: ‘he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true’ (John 7:18). By the same reason also in things and doctrines” [Charnock, 1660].

Reformed theology gives God His rightful place as sovereign ruler and disposer of all things, who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will and places man in the dust where he belongs!

And remember whatever gives GOD ALL the glory THAT is what is right!

“He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that SEEKETH HIS GLORY THAT SENT HIM, THE SAME IS TRUE, and no unrighteousness is in him.” [John 7:18]

“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” [Rom 9:16]

“The Reformed Faith, then, offers us a great God who is really the sovereign Ruler of the Universe. “Its grand principle,” says Bayne, “is the contemplation of the universe of God revealed in Christ. In all places, in all times, from eternity to eternity, Calvinism sees God.” Our age, with its emphasis on democracy, doesn’t like this view, and perhaps no other age liked it less. The tendency today is to exalt man and to give God only a very limited part in the affairs of the world.” [Loraine Boettner]

“ . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes!” [Psalm 50:21]

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” [Daniel 4:35]

‘GOING TO CHURCH’ ON SUNDAY ?

‘GOING TO CHURCH’ ON SUNDAY ?

Here is an excerpt from a letter to a Sister who wrote to me telling me that the voice of God was convicting her to ‘GET OUT’ of a compromised Church which she was attending –

Dear Sister, the nominal Christian is raised from his childhood with the idea that come Sunday he needs to ‘go to Church’!

And this, without even understanding what ‘the church’ actually means!

The ‘Church’ is not a building with a steeple on the top, nor is it a group of religious folks who attest to a creed, and have learnt to sing a few hymns and spiritual songs!

The Greek word used in the Bible for the Church is ‘Ecclesia’ which just simply means ‘called out ones’! Individuals sovereignly chosen and ‘called out’ by the God the Father, supernaturally made alive by the Holy Spirit and have been made partakers of the mystical body of Christ!

So you cannot in any real sense ‘go to Church’ because if you are truly saved, you are part of the Church!

Oh but doesn’t the Scripture say, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. [Heb 10:25]

It sure does!

But notice, it is the assembling of “OURSELVES”!

Who are those who constitute the “ourselves” which the Apostle speaks of? Well, it is those to whom the epistle is written to in the first place –

“Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” [Heb 3:1]

Hebrews 10:25 is not admonishing the Christian to go every Sunday and sit amongst a bunch of religious goats who have a ‘form of godliness but deny the power thereof’! The Apostle’s counsel concerning such is “from such TURN AWAY”! [2Tim 3:5]

Dear Sister, please understand that I am not against God’s children having a desire to find a true Church to fellowship with. But such Churches are VERY FEW in the world today and usually meet in very small numbers either in their homes or a rented shed. If God leads you to such a Church then you can praise God for it! If not, better to sit at home and worship God than to ‘attend’ a Church which has a form of religion without the power thereof. Even at this moment I personally know God’s precious children both in the USA and England who are without an official Church where they can attend!

And the reason is not far to seek, Sister! You see, we are living in a day when God’s sheep are an ‘endangered species’! Which means, there aren’t many of them left! You have more chances of running into a ‘Tasmanian Wolf’ in Australia than running into a true child of God in a large shopping mall or train station!

In Psalm 83:3 the Psalmist refers to the Lord’s people as “Thy hidden ones”. And I believe that that is a good description of God’s people in the day that we are now living in. First of all I guess you will agree that a Church is not a BUILDING. It is a collection of believers. How many believers does it take to constitute a Church? JUST TWO! The Lord said “where TWO or three are gathered together in My Name there am I in the midst of them”! I guess the Lord had a reason for limiting the number to two or three, because being the omniscient One He knew that the day would come (has come!) when in most parts of the world only two of three would come together in His Name.

Yes, if we can find other believers who love the truth and holiness and are against all that is erroneous like Free-Willism, Roman Catholicism, Christmas, and the Prosperity Gospel etc, then it will be our joy to join with such believers and break bread.

But I speak from 27 years of personal experience that such Churches are one in a thousand and they usually meet in homes. The Master called His sheep ‘little-flock’ (Lk 12:32) because compared to the multitudes that throng the nominal churches, they are VERY SMALL in number. If a true child of God is yet a member of one of these HUGE ‘churches’, it will not be long before the Spirit opens his eyes to the fact that he is sitting amongst goats.

In our day the Lord’s true sheep who love the truth are so few in number that for a preacher to be a FULLTIME SALARIED MINISTER he has to necessarily be an amuser of goats and an entertainer of religious hypocrites. Trust me, Sister; I do not say this lightly. I know what I am saying. If a preacher has gathered enough members to support him fulltime and build him a church building then 99% of those who are part of his ‘Church’ have to NECESSARILY be religious goats! I am sorry but this fact I have seen through my own bitter experience!

Incidentally, one does not have to ‘go to church’, or ‘go’ anywhere for that matter! If the Lord leads us to a group of true believers then great! We MUST make every effort to fellowship with them at every given opportunity and do our part to edify them.

But remember this – if whichever group we have decided to be a part of is growing to a number where we have to purchase or rent a building for our gathering, then chances are that the ‘pastor’ or ‘elders’ there are not preaching the WHOLE truth!

“Anything which is endured today in the religious world CANNOT be sound doctrine; anything which is approved of, well-attended, popular, is not sound ‘doctrine’. When God raises up His servant, equips him and sends him forth to preach, that servant will necessarily preach the WORD, and DENOUNCE all that is opposed to the world: hence his message is BOUND to be UNPOPULAR, in fact HATED by all who are not regenerated”. [A.W. Pink]

My dear Sister, I preach separation from false churches as IMPERATIVE! Ever since I left the Apostate Churches and started out independently, the Lord has gradually shown me little by little that the existing Christendom of our day is IRREMEDIABLY APOSTATE. We are living in a day when ‘Christians’ have no regard for sound doctrine or a hunger for true holiness. Even most who prate about their orthodoxy in sound doctrine do not demand holiness from the flock entrusted to them. Most preachers in our day desire to have a ‘ministry’ to show the world what they have accomplished for Christ.

But I know from EXPERIENCE that any preacher who faithfully preaches the WHOLE counsel of God, which means not just preaching the truth but exposing the lie (and the liars who masquerade in Jesus’ name), I believe such a preacher WILL be left WITHOUT A ‘MINISTRY’, for he will soon begin to see that the elect of God who sincerely seek to follow the Lamb by denying self, sin, and the world are only a mere HANDFUL. The Lord said “when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith upon the earth?” [Luk 18:8] Except for a few small groups of faithful disciples who gather in houses all over the world, THE WHOLE OF CHRISTENDOM WILL BE THOROUGHLY APOSTATE– which is why He says, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues”. [Rev 18:4]

But even if you cannot find an assembly of true believers to fellowship with, there is no need to ‘go anywhere’ on Sunday! Just stay at home and spend the time reading God’s Word and in prayer!

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without (outside) the camp (of nominal Christianity), bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come”. [Hebrews 13:12-14]

“Those who are “poor in spirit” have nothing in common with the self-satisfied Laodiceans. And how “distressed” in soul are they over the worldliness that has come in like a flood, over the crowds of unregenerate members, over the utter absence of any scriptural discipline? And what is to be the attitude and actions of God’s grieved children toward those having nothing more than a form of godliness? This – “FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Timothy 3:5). Identify yourself with Christ on the outside; walk ALONE WITH HIM”! [A.W. Pink]

So basically that is my take on present day Christendom. The truly elect know what I am preaching is the truth. But even among the elect, methinks that there are those who do not want to make a complete break with the established religion. For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God! But they have their reward and I am not the one to judge them.

Love
Michael Jeshurun

“IT IS FINISHED!” MEANS … “IT IS FINISHED!”

“IT IS FINISHED!” MEANS … “IT IS FINISHED!”

When the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shouted in His dying breath “It is finished!” (John 19:30), He spoke regarding the redemption of the sinners for whom He died (among other things).

When He said “It is FINISHED!” He meant … “It is FINISHED!” The redemption of every soul for whom He died was COMPLETED, PERFECTED, ACCOMPLISHED, ACHIEVED, FINALIZED.

Many preachers aver otherwise. They say He meant “It is finished HYPOTHETICALLY! – as in “I made redemption possible for everyone.” They say He meant “It is finished PARTLY! – as in “I have done My part, but now you must do yours.” They say He meant “It is finished PROVISIONALLY! – as in “I have provided redemption for all who will of their own freewill have it.” They say He meant “It is finished CONDITIONALLY!” – as in “I have redeemed you if you meet the condition.”

When Jesus Christ said “It is finished!” He meant … “It is finished – ACTUALLY, COMPLETELY, PERFECTLY, EFFECTUALLY, UNCONDITIONALLY, ABSOLUTELY, EVERLASTINGLY, IMMUTABLY, PERIOD!”

Not one single solitary sinner for whom Jesus Christ died will die unredeemed and be condemned and consigned to everlasting punishment.

Rather, each and every sinner for whom Jesus Christ died is redeemed and will join the heavenly hosts in singing to Him, “Thou art worthy . . . for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation!” (Revelation 5:9).

Will YOU join them?

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!” (Psalm 107:2).

[From The SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH Bulletin]

WILL A JASPER BE AT YOUR FUNERAL?

WILL A JASPER BE AT YOUR FUNERAL?

John Jasper was a prominent slave and Baptist preacher in Richmond, Virginia in the mid-1800s. He preached at many funerals. He said at one funeral: “Let me say a word about this [Name Withheld]. I say it first and get it off my mind. [Name Withheld] was no good man – he didn’t say he was. He didn’t try to be good, and they tell me he died as he lived, without God and without hope in the world. It’s a bad tale to tell on him, but he fixed the story himself. As the tree falls, there must it lay. If you want folks who live wrong to be preached and sung to glory, don’t bring them to Jasper.”

What a rarity is a Jasper!

Many preachers prove themselves to be liars at funerals. In their ordinary preaching they say Jesus spoke truth when He said: “Repent, and believe in the gospel”; “unless you repent you will all likewise perish”; “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3,5; Mark 16:16). But at the funerals of people who refused to obey Jesus, they deny what they formerly preached, and speak of the unrepentant and unbelieving dead as dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, and declare that they are now in heaven with God.

A minister of Christ will not lie against God for you at your funeral. Therefore, if you want someone claiming the power to preach to glory those who disregarded Christ … “Don’t bring them to Jasper!”

If you want a Jasper to speak at your funeral of your blessedness in your death, then obey Christ in your life.

CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

C.H. Spurgeon 

EVERY man should leave a monument behind in the recollection of his life by his neighbors. There’s something very much amiss about a man who is not missed when he dies. A good character is the best tombstone. Those why loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered; Carve your name on hearts and not on marble. So live towards others that they will keep your; memory green when the grass grows on your grave. Let us hope there will be something better to be said about us than of the man whose epitaph is:

“Here lies a man who did no good, And if he’d lived he never would; Where he’s gone, and how he fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

May our friends never remember us as; great gormandizers of meat and drink, like this glutton over whose grave is written:

“Gentle reader, gentle reader, Look on the spot where I do lie, I always a very good feeder, But now the worms do feed on I.”

As much as that might be said of a prize; pig or a fat bullock if it died of disease. Some men are nothing better than walking bee barrels while they live; when death staves in the cask, they deserve to rot out of notice.

However, a plain-speaking tombstone better than downright lying. To put flattery a grave is like pouring melted butter down a stone sink. What queer tastes those must have; who puff up the departed as if they wanted to blow the trumpet of the dead before the last angel makes his appearance! Here’s an apple out of their basket:

“Here lies the body of Martha Gwyn, who was so very pure within; She cracked the outer shell of sin, And hatched herself a cherubim.”

Where do they bury the bad people? Everywhere in our churchyard, they seem all to have been the best of folks, a regular nest of saints. Some of them were so precious good, it is no wonder they died: they were too fine to live in such a wicked world as this. Better give bread to the poor than stones to the dead. Better kind words to the living than fine speeches over the grave. Some of the lavish stuff on monuments is enough to make a dead man blush.

What heaps of marble are stuck over many people’s tombs, half enough to build a house with! What a lift they will have at the resurrection! It makes me feel as if I could not get my breath to think of all those stones being: heaped on my bones – not that there’s any fear of it. Let the earth which I have tuned over so often lie light upon my corpse when it is turned over me. Let John Ploughman be buried somewhere under the boughs of a spreading beech with a green grass mound above him, out of which primroses and daisies peep in their season – a quiet shady spot where the leaves fall, and the robins play, and the dewdrops gleam in the sunshine. Let fee wind blow fresh and free over my grave, and if there must be aid line about me, let it be:

HERE LIES THE BODY OF JOHN PLOUGHMAN WAITING FOR THE APPEARING OF HIS LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

I’ve often heard tell of patience on a monument, but I have never seen it sitting there when I have gone through churchyards. I have a good many times seen stupidity on a monument, and I have wondered why the parson, or the churchwarden, or the deacon, or whoever else has the ruling of things let people cut such rubbish on the stones. Why, a Glostershire man told me that at Dymock graveyard there’s a writing like this:

“Two sweeter babes you ne’er did see – Than God’s grace gave to we; But they were taken with ague fits, And here they lie as dead as nits.

I’ve read pretty near enough silly things myself in our Surrey burying grounds to fill a book. Better leave the grave alone than set up a monument to your own ignorance.

Of all places for jokes and fun, the strangest are tombstones. Yet many a time grave stones have had such oddities carved upon them that one is led to surmise that the nearer the church, the further from common decency. This is a cruel verse, but I dare say a true one:

“Here lies, returned to clay, Miss Arabella Young, Who on the first day of May – Began to hold her tongue.”

This is not much better:
Upjohn Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell, A carrier who carried his can to his mouth well; He carried so much, and he carried so fast, He could carry no more, so was carried at last; For the liquor he drunk was too much for the one, He could not carry off, so he’s now carrion.”

Why could not these people poke their fun somewhere else? A man’s wit must be nearly dead when he can find no place for it but the grave. The body of the most ragged beggar is too sacred a thing to crack jokes upon. What an odd fish must Roger Martin have been, who lived in Walworth, and put on his wife’s tomb:

“Here lies the wife of Roger Martin, She was a good wife to Roger – that’s sartin.”

And whoever was the foolish creature at Ockham, one of the prettiest spots in these parts, who wrote these outrageous lines?

“The Lord saw good, I was topping off wood, And down fell from the tree; I met with a check, And I broke my blessed neck, And so death topped off me.”

There, that’s enough, and quite as good as a feast. Here’s proof positive that some fools are left alive to write on the monuments of those who are buried. Well may there be ghosts about. No wonder the sleepers get out of bed when they are so badly tucked in. I say let us have a law to let nobody put nonsense over the dead unless he likes to take out a certificate to be an ass, just like the license to shoot partridges and pheasants. At the same time, let all puffery be saved for dressmakers’ shops, quack doctors, and none be allowed at grave. I say as our minister does:

Let no proud stone with sculptured virtues rise, To mark the spot wherein a sinner lies, Or if some boast must deck the sinner’s grave, Boast of His love who died lost man to save.

One more Surrey rhyme, and John Ploughman leaves the churchyard to go about work and turn up other sods. It is at Saviours, Southwark, and is, I think a rare good one.

“Like to the damask rose you see, Or like the blossom on the tree, Or like the dainty flower of May, Or like the sun of the day, Or like the sun, or like the shade, Or like the gourd which Jonah had; Even so is man, Whose thread is spun, Draw out, and cut, and so is done: The rose withers, the blossom blasteth, The flower fades, the morning hasteth, The sun sets, the shadow flies, The gourd consumes, and man he dies.”

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever!” [1John 2:17]

THERE ARE ONLY TWO RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD!

THERE ARE ONLY TWO RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD!

by John G. Reisinger

There are basically only two religions in the world. One says, “IF YOU WILL do such and such, God will graciously bestow His blessing upon you.” The thousand and one varieties of this religion differ only on what the “such and such” is that you must be willing to do. One variety says bathe in a sacred river, another bids you kiss the sacred rock located in the holy city, still another says be baptized or some similar rite, and in distinctly evangelical circles this religion emphasizes, “IF YOU WILL OPEN YOUR HEART, THEN GOD . . .”

Notice carefully the three key words IF YOU WILL.
(1) God’s forgiveness is possible IF …..
(2) God’s forgiveness is possible if YOU…
(3) God’s forgiveness is possible if you WILL. . . .

The ultimate success or failure of this religion is determined solely by the will of man. Everything depends on an “if,” and on “you,” and on “your willingness” to do your part. Redemption is always CONDITIONAL since it depends on man’s cooperation for success. The great work of salvation is not actually accomplished until God can find someone who is willing to “cooperate with Him.” Our forefathers called this “if you will” system the “religion of works.” It was also called “Arminianism” and “semi-Pelagianism” since these were the men who originally caused division in the church by introducing this error of free will. Regardless of the name attached to it by friend or foe, the distinguishing marks are always the same — the IF, the YOU, and YOUR WILL are the decisive factors that make the plan of salvation work.

This religion offers a wonderful plan of salvation that is able to do mighty things if YOU WILL ONLY LET IT. The God of this free will religion can only desire and offer to save sinners. He is helpless to secure, by His own power, what He longs to do. The goal of redemption cannot be reached unless man, of his own free will, chooses to permit God to accomplish His purposes.

The false religion of free will, or works, is based upon several unbiblical doctrines. The most basic of these is THE UNIVERSAL AND INDISCRIMINATE REDEMPTIVE LOVE OF GOD. God is said to love all men in the same way and to the same degree. He loved Judas the same as Peter, Esau like Jacob, and the goats as much as the sheep. Since His love is universal then the greatest gift of His love, Jesus Christ His Son, must have been given to provide a universal atonement, meaning for every individual without exception, in His death. The objects of the Son’s atonement must be equal to the objects of the Father’s love, so both must include every man. If the Father loves all men equally, and the Son redeemed every man without exception, it follows that the Holy Spirit must convict every man or else the Trinity is not working together toward the same end in the task of redeeming lost men.

It should be amply clear that this religion of works, or free will, based on a universal love and universal atonement, makes God’s whole scheme of redemption depend on man for its success. God’s love will prevail IF MAN will let it. Christ’s atonement will actually redeem only IF MAN will let it. The Holy Spirit will apply redemption’s purchased benefits IF MAN will allow Him. No wonder C. H. Spurgeon, that great soul winner, called free will “utter nonsense,” and universal atonement a “monstrous doctrine akin to blasphemy.”

Now the second religion is the message of the Bible. It is the gospel of FREE GRACE. It does not look to God for the PROVISION and then turn to man for the POWER, but it boldly proclaims that the same sovereign grace that planned salvation for helpless sinners also furnishes them with the ability to desire and receive it. This second religion not only starts at a different place, it works on a different principle, and moves toward a different goal. In short, it is a totally different religion. The religion based on free will (Arminianism – If you will …), and that based of free grace (Calvinism — God makes us willing …) are two very distinct and opposite religions that differ on every theological point at which they meet.

Any individual who piously says, “It is really not important, it is merely a question of EMPHASIS,” is either deliberately dishonest or completely ignorant of Bible doctrine in church history. The Synod of Dort and the Council of Trent clarified forever the vital importance of the issue once and for all time. I challenge any man to read Dr. J. I. Packer’s introduction to the DEATH OF DEATH IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST by John Owen, and then talk about emphasis. Packer clearly shows that free will and free grace are totally different religions, and furthermore, that they are irreconcilable enemies.

WHO WEARS THE CROWN?

As you can see, the real battle ground is the nature of man, and the prize to be won is the Crown of Credit for making redemption’s plan actually work. Is free grace, given sovereignly by the Father, the decisive factor that causes the elect to believe in the first place, or is man’s will, exercised sovereignly by the individual, the decisive factor that causes God to choose these whom He “foresees” are willing to believe? Who wins the right to wear the crown of glory, God or man? And by what power was that right won — free will or free grace?

The basic difference between these two opposing religions can also be summed up by asking another question, a question vitally related to the first one. Instead of asking how any man can perish, and being told that, “the man would not do his part which was to simply believe,” we now ask, “Why are SOME men saved?” How is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s work able to succeed in some cases but not in others? The religion of free will humbly (?) answers that “MAN MADE IT ALL POSSIBLE BY BEING WILLING TO OPEN HIS HEART AND GIVE GOD A CHANCE!” It does not matter if we are speaking of those who perish or those who are saved, we always come back to that IF YOU WILL.

Actually, the gospel based on free will can never be more than a gospel of mere POSSIBILITY. It is a plan of redemption that cannot truly redeem by its own power, but can only effect real salvation when it finds someone who make themselves willing to do “their part.” It is not a question of whether a man must, or does, become willing before he can be saved, we all believe that, but WHO AND WHAT POWER makes the sinner willing? Does man, of himself, choose to become willing, or does God, by His sovereign power, make His elect willing “in the day of His power” (Ps. 110:3)? It seems both logical and judicially necessary to crown with glory the individual who made the plan of salvation actually work, and the free willer does not hesitate to reach for the crown and place it on the head of the sovereign and free will of man.

Some folks may feel we are laboring this point to an extreme, but actually this is the heart of the matter. Who really deserves all the glory for man’s salvation? It cannot be both God and man, nor can it be, as many would imply, half and half. Either God saves sinners by “making them willing in the day of His power,” or they save themselves by making themselves willing in the “day of their free will decision.”

Read the full sermon –
http://www.the-highway.com/2religions.html

OPEN AND CLOSED DOORS FOR GOD’S CHILDREN

OPEN AND CLOSED DOORS FOR GOD’S CHILDREN

“When God closes a door, look for a window!” Have you ever heard that before? Someone probably said it to you when you failed to get that perfect job you applied for. Maybe someone spouted it off after you failed to make the team or when that university rejected your application. Whatever the case all of us have had doors close on our hopes and dreams.

So what do we do when that happens? We immediately look for a window!

For what it’s worth-I think looking for a window is a dumb idea.

I’m not convinced God replaces doors with windows. I think a better approach to a closed door is to just keep checking the door. Think about it. The only time you should be jumping through a window is if your house is on fire. In fact, when people are seen climbing through windows it usually means they have been locked out or they’re trying to break in. Climbing through windows usually means someone is in trouble or someone is trying to cause trouble. God knows this. That’s why when he closes a door he usually locks the windows as well. It’s not because he’s mean or wants to frustrate us. He simply closes doors so that he can get our attention.

So, the next time God closes a door in your life, don’t be so quick to look for a window to jump through. I’d suggest you take some time to pause and reflect on why God closed the door in the first place. Maybe he wants to teach you patience or instill in you the discipline of perseverance. He could be protecting you from a bad decision or showing you what it means to fully trust him. Whatever the case, closed doors are God’s way of getting our attention. Read that again. Read it slowly. Let it sink in: God, the creator of the universe, will close doors in your life in order to get your attention. You know what that means? It means God cares about you. It means that God is not distant. It means he wants you to know him personally. So forget about looking for a window and just listen.

In the end, closed doors help us hear the voice of God in our life. Closed doors are God’s way of reminding us that he loves us. It’s his way of correcting our perspective on life and helping us see that what he offers is way more fulfilling than anything this world offers.

So next time God closes a door, instead of looking for a window, listen for what God wants to say to you. When you hear him, check the door again. You might find it open, if not He will open another door for you!

(copied from the Web)

 

DEBUNKING THE ACCUSATION THAT CALVINISTS ARE FOLLOWERS OF JOHN CALVIN

DEBUNKING THE ACCUSATION THAT CALVINISTS ARE FOLLOWERS OF JOHN CALVIN

Dear Jim,
Once again please forgive my late response. I trust that all is well with you and your family. I realize that our friendship has reached an ‘uneasy level’ where we are NOT in agreement. But sir, trust me if this was a MINOR issue where we could ‘agree to disagree’ I would be more than willing do that. But this is an issue concerning the ‘crux of the matter’ as far as the ‘gospel’ is concerned and I must remain faithful to the message which God has delivered to me concerning His absolute sovereignty.

I would start by reminding you, that it was NOT CALVIN who said – “I lay down My life for THE SHEEP”! [John 10:11] Again it wasn’t Calvin who said, “No man CAN COME to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM”! [John :44] Neither said he – “AS MANY as were ORDAINED to eternal life believed”! [Acts 13:48]

Now I want to make it very clear that we use the term “Calvinism” ONLY FOR IDENTIFICATION, and are NOT IN AGREEMENT with all that Calvin taught. That Calvin contributed a lot to the system that bares his name we do not deny. But even though we may quote a few things from the works of Calvin, our appeal is NOT TO CALVIN OR ANY CONFESSIONS OR CREEDS OF THE CHURCHES, BUT TO THE LAW AND TESTIMONY OF JEHOVAH.

Historically speaking, the so-called “Doctrines of Grace” – which go by the nickname of Calvinism – did not originate with Calvin. They are the result of a Synod held in Dort, Holland in 1618/19, after Calvin was long dead. Those of us who hold to Reformed Theology do so not because we are attempting to replicate the theology or ecclesiology of a mere MAN – John Calvin, but because we are convinced that the Biblical arguments and the conclusions stemming from that Synod are valid and our OWN EXEGESIS AND EXPERIENCE CONFIRMS THE FIVE POINTS.

If it could be proven that John Calvin was indeed a murderous wretch, an ‘Infant baptizer’ or whatever, still it would have no effect on the theology that sprung from the pen of the Reformers. In other words, the “guilt by association” tactic has no teeth!

If John Calvin believed what the Spirit of God has taught us in our personal study of God’s Word and our experience in our preaching ministry, then good for him! But it means NOTHING TO US!

We be persuaded that the Spirit of God would have by and by taught us these glorious truths WHETHER THERE WAS A CALVIN OR NOT!

No infant comes into the world knowing everything, but learns as he grows! Even so a truly born again child of God may have many misconceptions concerning the nature and method of his salvation at first, but if he is saved at all, then the Spirit will by and by teach him what He means when He says that “It is NOT of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that showeth mercy”! [Rom 9:16]

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”! [Prov 4:18]

Whatever glorifies God 100%, THAT is what is right!

The doctrines of grace which we hold gives God ALL THE GLORY and puts man where He belongs, i.e. IN THE DUST!

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake”! [Psalm 115:1]

You are either an Arminian or a Calvinist! You either believe that Salvation is ALL OF GOD, or you believe that it is partly of God and partly of man!

There is NO MIDDLE GROUND!

Those who pretend that they are neither Arminians nor “Calvinists” are in reality hypocrites! They suppose that they are neutral! But in matters pertaining to the doctrines of Soteriology (salvation) there are NO NEUTRALS!

NOBODY IS NEUTRAL! EVERYBODY HAS A BIAS FOR OR AGAINST! You’re either a capitalist or a communist. You’re either a conservative or a liberal–a rightist or a leftist–right or wrong! Nothing short of right is right. There is no such thing as neutrality on anything. Even a battery has only two poles, positive and negative, and you cannot get them together without fireworks! No battery has neutral poles: You’re either alive or dead, hot or cold!

Oh, the neutral is always so fair! “I can see BOTH sides.” The Liar! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BOTH SIDES! Only ONE side can be right and only ONE side can be wrong, so in claiming to be neutral and pretending to see right and wrong on both sides, the neutral puts himself above everybody. He is the most righteous of all. He can see how everybody’s a little bit wrong but him and he is the only one right–the only one who really sees the truth, which he claims is somewhere in-between, which makes him the worst liar and most treacherous enemy of all! As Jesus said “He that is not for Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” [Matt 12;30]

You either believe fallen man is totally depraved and CANNOT come to God of his own ‘free-will’ or you don’t! [John 6;44]

You either believe God has elected a CERTAIN NUMBER and sovereignly ordained them to eternal life or you don’t! [Acts 13:48]

You either believe that Christ laid down His life FOR THE SHEEP and them alone, as he said He did, or you don’t! [John 10:15]

You either believe that the Holy Spirit DRAWS God’s chosen by an IRRESISTIBLE POWER or you don’t! [Jer 31:3]
And finally you either believe Christ saves FULLY AND FINALLY those whom He died for unto the end or you don’t! [Heb 7:25]

There is no MIDDLE GROUND HERE!

I know what have written might sound harsh and ‘un-loving’, but “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the TRUTH”?! [Gal 4:16]. “FAITHFUL are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”. [Prov 27:6]

If you choose to believe that fallen, depraved man has a ‘free-will’ to either accept or reject Christ, and that the spiritually dead man can respond to God’s call anytime HE chooses, you are free to do so. But I believe that if you are TRULY SAVED by the Spirit of God and have ‘the root of the matter in you’ [Job 19:28] then God will sooner or later open your eyes to the truth of that word – “it is not of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy”!! [Rom 9:16].

Dear Jim, to further dialogue and debate this issue would be a waste of time for both of us. I am sure you realize this by now. But please know that I shall be praying for you that God will be pleased to open your eyes to the truth of His absolute sovereignty and show you that our God is STILL the Absolute Sovereign who has ‘mercy on WHOM HE WILL and hardens WHOM HE WILL and NONE can say unto Him “what doest Thou”?! [Daniel 4:35]

Love
Mike!

THE FIRE THAT CAUSED THE REFORMATION

THE FIRE THAT CAUSED THE REFORMATION

Nathan Busenitz

“Is not my Word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29)

What caused the Reformation?

Many people might answer that question by pointing to Martin Luther and his 95 Theses.

But if you were to ask Luther himself, he would not point to himself or his own writings. Instead, he would give all the credit to God and His Word.

Near the end of his life, Luther declared: “All I have done is put forth, preach and write the Word of God, and apart from this I have done nothing. . . . It is the Word that has done great things. . . . I have done nothing; the Word has done and achieved everything.”

Elsewhere, he exclaimed: “By the Word the earth has been subdued; by the Word the Church has been saved; and by the Word also it shall be reestablished.”

Noting Scripture’s foundational place in his own heart, Luther wrote: “No matter what happens, you should say: There is God’s Word. This is my rock and anchor. On it I rely, and it remains. Where it remains, I, too, remain; where it goes, I, too, go.”

Luther understood what caused the Reformation. He recognized that it was the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God preached by men of God in a language that the common people of Europe could understand and when their ears were exposed to the truth of God’s Word it pierced their hearts and they were radically changed.

It was that very power that had transformed Luther’s own heart, a power that is summarized in the familiar words of Hebrews 4:12: “The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.”

During the late middle ages, the Roman Catholic Church had imprisoned God’s Word in the Latin language, a language the common people of Europe did not speak. The Reformers unlocked the Scriptures by translating them. And once the people had the Word of God, the Reformation became inevitable.

We see this commitment to the Scriptures even in the centuries prior to Martin Luther, beginning with the Forerunners to the Reformation:

In the 12th century, the Waldensians translated the New Testament from the Latin Vulgate into their regional French dialects. According to tradition, they were so committed to the Scriptures that different Waldensian families would memorize large sections of the Bible. That way, if Roman Catholic authorities found them and confiscated their printed copies of Scripture, they would later be able to reproduce the entire Bible from memory.

In the 14th century, John Wycliffe and his associates at Oxford translated the Bible from Latin into English. Wycliffe’s followers, known as the Lollards, went throughout the countryside preaching and singing passages of Scripture in English.

In the 15th century, Jan Huss preached in the language of the people, and not in Latin, making him the most popular preacher in Prague at the time. Yet, because Huss insisted that Christ alone was the head of the church, not the pope, the Catholic Council of Constance condemned him for heresy and burned him at the stake (in 1415).

In the 16th century, as the study of Greek and Hebrew were recovered, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, with the New Testament being completed in 1522.

In 1526, William Tyndale completed a translation of the Greek New Testament into English. A few years later he also translated the Pentateuch from Hebrew. Shortly thereafter he was arrested and executed as a heretic—being strangled and then burned at the stake. According to Fox’s Book of Martyrs, Tyndale’s last words were “Lord, Open the King of England’s Eyes.” And it was just a couple years after his death that King Henry VIII authorized the Great Bible in England—a Bible that was largely based on Tyndale’s translation work. The Great Bible laid the foundation for the later King James version (which was completed in 1611).

The common thread, from Reformer to Reformer, was an undying commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, such that they were willing to sacrifice everything, including their own lives, to get the Word of God into the hands of the people.

They did this because they understood that the power for spiritual reformation and revival was not in them, but in the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:16–17). And they used the Latin phrase sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) to emphasize the truth that God’s Word was the true power and ultimate authority behind all they said and did.

It was ignorance of Scripture that made the Reformation necessary. It was the recovery of the Scripture that made the Reformation possible. And it was the power of the Scripture that gave the Reformation its enduring impact, as the Holy Spirit brought the truth of His Word to bear on the hearts and minds of individual sinners, transforming them, regenerating them, and giving them eternal life.